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Habitat selection of samango monkeys

Citation

Parker, Edwin (2023), Habitat selection of samango monkeys, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.dr7sqv9xw

Abstract

Aim: As habitat loss continues to accelerate with global human population growth, identifying landscape characteristics that influence species occurrence is a key conservation priority in order to prevent global biodiversity loss. In South Africa, the arboreal samango monkey (Cercopithecus albogularis sp.) is threatened due to loss and fragmentation of the indigenous forests it inhabits. The aim of this study was to determine the habitat preferences of the samango monkey at different spatial scales, and to identify key conservation areas to inform management plans for this species. 

Location: This study was carried out in the western Soutpansberg Mountains, which represents the northernmost population of samango monkeys within South Africa, and the only endangered subspecies (C. a. schwarzi).

Methods: We used sequentially collected GPS points from two samango monkey groups followed between 2012 – 2017 to quantify the used and available habitat for this species within the western Soutpansberg Mountains. We developed 2nd (selection of ranging area), 3rd (selection within range) and 4th(feeding site selection) order resource selection functions (RSFs) to identify important habitat features at each scale. Through scale integration, we identified three key conservation areas for samango monkeys across Limpopo Province, South Africa.

Results: Habitat productivity was the most important landscape variable predicting probability of use at each order of selection, indicating the dependence of these arboreal primates on tall-canopy indigenous forests. Critical habitat across Limpopo was highly fragmented, meaning complete isolation between subpopulations is likely. 

Main Conclusions: Understanding the habitat characteristics that influence samango monkey distribution across South Africa is crucial for prioritising critical habitat for this species. Our results indicated that large, contiguous patches of tall-canopy indigenous forest are fundamental to samango monkey persistence. As such, protected area expansion of large forest patches and creation of forest corridors are identified as key conservation interventions for this species. 

Methods

This dataset represents location data on two samango monkey groups at Lajuma Research Centre, in the Soutpansberg Mountains, South Africa (2012 - 2016). The dataset also includes landscape variables sampled for each point. Datasets include habitat selection at the 2nd, 3rd and 4th order of selection.