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Habitat selection of an endangered primate, the samango monkey (Cercopithecus albogularis schwarzi): integrating scales to prioritise habitat for wildlife management.

Parker, E, Koyama, NF and Hill, RA Habitat selection of an endangered primate, the samango monkey (Cercopithecus albogularis schwarzi): integrating scales to prioritise habitat for wildlife management. Ecology and Evolution. ISSN 2045-7758 (Accepted)

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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.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0602 Ecology, 0603 Evolutionary Biology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QH Natural history
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (new Sep 19)
Publisher: Wiley
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2021 08:47
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2021 09:00
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/14782

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