The Samburu primates survey 2007/2008 is an effort aimed at establishing the presence and thereafter the distribution of six rare primates species in the district. They include; the de Brazza’s, the Sykes and the Patas monkeys, the Somali and the Senegal lesser galagos and the Endangered Mt Uarges guereza. The six have received marginal attention and their status is poorly known, save for the de Brazza’s monkey in Mathews range which was surveyed in 2006.
On de brazza’s monkey, the progress has been encouraging. Six more groups of de Brazza’s monkey were recorded on the northern Mathews range in additional the 24 groups recorded in the year 2006 survey. Milgis Trust game scout have also reported new groups in southern parts of Ndoto forest and they are currently on the ground searching for more groups.
So far, only one Patas monkey was officially reported in the district. Dr Iain Douglas-Hamilton reported seeing one Patas monkey on the western parts of Samburu National Reserve. Given mobile the nature of male Patas and the proximity of the reserve to the Laikipia population, this sighting could not be construed to mean that there is a new resident group in the district yet. But ongoing efforts in Baragoi-Parsaloi plains are encouraging and might come up with positive results soon.
The Plains between Leroghi and Ndoto where the search for patas has been intensified especially along the Baragoi- Parsaloi road. However, this effort might not be successfully completed due to funds limitations.
A very small population Sykes’ monkey is believed to be present on the northern fringes of Leroghi forest although tangible evidence has been had to come by. Effort to get hold of such evidence is till on going. Residents insist that there is a White-throated monkey that raids their crops for the nearby forest.
My Local scouts and local residents at Ang’ata Nanyuki where Sykes monkey are reported to raid crops.
The Endangered Mt Uarges guereza is found in substantial number distributed over central and southern parts of Mathews range forest. The population in the neighbouring Kirisia hills and Leroghi forest was last seen by Forest Guards in 2006 and is now believed to have sought refuge in the dense inaccessible part of the forest following two decades of persistent poaching by local people who highly value its skin.
Saanata, the highest peak of the Leroghi forest where it is extremely cold. The extreme cold deters human intrusion in this area and the remnants population of the Endangered colobus is believed to have found a safe haven here
The Senegal lesser galago was found to be widespread in the district. Eight live specimens were collected at South Horr and Mathew range. However, the Somali lesser galago was not seen though there were reports that it is common especially in the lower drier areas.
A man holding a Senegal lesser galago at Ngare Narok in Mathews range. This species is common in traditional beehives near human residence.
Although a lot has been achieved so far, there is still more work that needs to be done to establish the status of Sykes’ in Leorgi, Patas in Parsaloi, Mt Uarges guereza in Leorgi and Ndoto forest and de Brazza’s monkey in Ndoto forest. The distribution of the Somali lesser galago in the lower and drier areas of the district need to be established as well. However, funds are running out when crucial information and tangible evidence for new discoveries is yet to be obtained. I am appealing for support to complete this survey within the next 12 months. I will also like ot thank those who have assisted me and my team before. their support has enabled us to traverse the remote 21,000 sq. km district extensively, an area where many biologist have been unable to venture before.
Samburu Primates Research and Conservation project
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