Tana River Crested Mangabey

Tana River Primate Reserve, which was gazetted in 1976 and established in 1978, has been identified as one of the endangered ecosystems in Kenya. The Reserve is located 350km east of Nairobi and 240km north of Mombasa in Tana River district of coast province. It is home to a large number of animal species such as Nile crocodile, Python, Monitor Lizard, butterflies, baboons, cheetah and lots of antelope species. More than 300 species of trees have been recorded in this reserve, a complex mix of pan-African rain forest species, East Coast forest species plus 10 rare woody plants of which 5 are endemic.

Deep in this reserve, we find the reason behind the reserve’s establishment, its the Tana River Crested Mangabey.

The Mangabey is a white monkey. Its body is between 17 and 25 inches long, and its tail is between 15 and 30 inches long. The technical/scientific term of the Mangabey is Cercocebus galeritus.

The Mangabey is a social monkey and spends very little time in the branches. These monkeys scour the forest floor of food that drops from of is sheltered by the trees. Their groups consist of numerous females, their offspring and up to approximately six adult males.

The Tana River Primate Reserve is the only habitat on earth where the Crested Mangabey lives.

Unfortunately, this animal species is one of the endangered species in Kenya mainly due to the degradation of this habitat as a result of human beings removing the timber, increased crop cultivation, forest fires and changes in the flow of the Tana River. In 1978, the Kenyan Government created the Tana River Primate Reserve to try to sustain the Mangabey. Experts estimate that approximately 1,200 Mangabey monkeys still live on earth.

Certainly this is one of  the best places to visit for game watching, bird watching, endangered primate watching, and this include the Tana River Red Colobus and also for nature walks for viewing plant biodiversity.

Importantly though is the need  to take action, be it by supporting organizations dedicated to conserving such species, by raising awareness or by planting a tree because as human beings, we have the duty of protecting other species.

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