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Keywords:

  • Colobus vellerosus;
  • complete count;
  • habitat fragmentation

Abstract

The Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary (BFMS) is inhabited by a growing population of Ursine colobus (Colobus vellerosus), a species that is listed as vulnerable. Smaller, degraded forest fragments that surround the BFMS also contain C. vellerosus and may provide an important habitat for the monkeys. Our objectives were to 1) determine the current population size and density of C. vellerosus at BFMS and in five surrounding fragments, 2) examine the differences in demographics between the fragments and BFMS, and 3) determine whether a relationship exists between population density and fragment size and isolation distance from BFMS. The census was a complete count and was conducted for 1 month (July 2003) by S.W. and trained research assistants. Seven census routes were walked simultaneously on 13 days. The 2003 population estimate of C. vellerosus at BFMS was 217–241 individuals (15 groups), a slight increase from the 2000 census. Numbers in the fragments (58–62, six groups) have remained stable since 1997, when the only other census of these fragments was conducted. Mean group size did not differ between the fragments and BFMS. Larger fragments had larger numbers of colobus, but there was no relationship between fragment size and colobus density. Isolation distance had no effect on population density. Our data suggest that colobus probably travel between fragments. Conservation efforts should focus on treating the small forests and their connecting areas as a single conservation unit. Am. J. Primatol. 68:1–12, 2006. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.