I have just returned from an expedition of the Wamba Valley on Mt Uarges the highest peak of Mathews ranges. This is one of several expeditions we undertake to monitor population of de Brazza’s monkey and the Endangered Mt Uarges guereza in the extensive Mathews ranges.
Accompanied by an experienced forest guide, we started our mission from Wamba on the foot of Mt Uarges climbing the steep mountain slowly in search of the Lkoroi (Mt Uarges guereza). We were also searching for the De Brazza’s monkey as we continue with our effort to map this newly discovered population. More new groups have been recorded after the 2007 pioneering survey and we are still scouting for more.
Five hours after we started our climb, we encountered the first group of Mt Uarges guereza at Sere Rongai from a distance. We counted three from the fleeing group, probably an indication that this population is frightened by human presence. Their flight distance was unusually long compared to other co-specifics living in safer habitats. This may be a good indicator of poaching in this habitat, the heartland of this Endangered sub-species.
At Lolng’eriyio near the peak of the mountain, we encountered another troop which fled on noticing our presence. This time we managed to count five adults. However, the next morning we were lucky to encounter this troop, this time counting twenty of them!
After the two days of extensive survey in the Wamba Valley, we didn’t see any De Brazza’s monkey. Has anyone seen De Brazza’s on Wamba Valley? Please contact us and we will go to the ground to verify.
In the meantime, I am planning my next expedition in other parts of the Mathews ranges. Check Primates Guardian Diary on this blog for more exciting news from the forest and awareness campaigns in the villages.