With each project, Wild&Free supports specific endangered species that are endemic to the country where the rehabilitation centre is located. Education is key to understand these misunderstood animals and the threats they face, resulting in the decrease of their population in the wild

Pangolin

Pangolins are a group of mammals comprising eight species spread out over Africa and Asia. The Sunda, Chinese, Philippine and Indian pangolins inhabit Asia and the white-bellied, black-bellied, ground and cape pangolins are found in Africa. All are majorly threatened by poaching for their use in both food consumption and traditional medicine. They have been given the title of «  the most trafficked mammal in the world ».

Pangolins have many unique traits that make them easily recognisable. These include their scaly surface, their long snout and tongue. Their incredibly long tongues are attached all the way down to their chest cavity. They have have no teeth or external hearing, but an incredible sense of smell. Their legs are strong with claws that help them dig through termite mounds.

Pangolins are a very shy, solitary and generally nocturnal species. Well-known for their eating techniques, their long tongue allows them to reach down into ant and termite mounds. The lack of teeth is compensated by the grinding of stones with the food in their stomachs to help with digestion. Their main defense technique is to roll up into a ball which protects their soft underparts that aren't covered in scales. They also dig burrows, used for sleeping and termite hunting.

Due to their exclusive insect diet, pangolins hold an important ecological role as pest control such as regulating termite populations. One adult can consume over 70 million insects annually.

Four of the eight species are protected by centres supported by Wild & Free and detailed below.

African pangolins

 

There are 4 sub species of African pangolins and two are supported by Wild&Free so far.

Name: White-bellied pangolin (Phataginus tricuspis), Black-bellied pangolin (Phataginus tetradactyla)

IUCN status: White-bellied : Endangered, Black-bellied : Vulnerable

Stats: Decreasing

Where they are found

White-bellied: Angola; Benin; Burundi; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Congo;Democratic Republic of Congo; Ivory Coast; Equatorial Guinea; Gabon; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Kenya; Liberia; Nigeria; Rwanda; Sierra Leone; South Sudan; Tanzania, Togo; Uganda; Zambia

 

- Black-bellied: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon; Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone

 

The centre we support them and where it is located: Libassa Wildlife Sanctuary (LiWiSa), Liberia

 

Short physical description :

These two species comprise the « small-bodied » African pangolins, and share characteristics that separate them from their other African relatives. They have very small forelimb claws, larger eyes, irregular arrangement of scales, the presence of tails pads used for climbing, a prehensile tail, and the presence of hair on the forelimbs, as opposed to scales.

The white-bellied species has the shortest tail and has three points on each scale from which their latin name is derived tricuspis.

Even though the black-bellies have the longest tail of all eight species reaching a length around 60–70 cm, they are the smallest pangolin species overall. They have 9-13 rows of leaf-shaped scales.The body can reach 30 - 40 cm in length and weigh 2- 2.5 kg.

Short behavioural description:

The white-bellies and black-bellies are the more arboreal species of African pangolins. They live in hollow trees unlike ground-dwellers that dig tunnels underground. White-bellies use their prehensile tail to hang from tree branches and rip the bark to gain access to insects. They give birth to one young after 150 days of gestation.


The black-bellied pangolin are unique in the fact that they are active during the day, whereas all other species are nocturnal. This is suggested as a method to avoid food competition with the white-bellied pangolin. It is almost exclusively arboreal and stays away from the forest edge. They are also the only pangolin species to feed primarily on ants instead of termites as their main food source.

 

Why they are important to protect/ role in ecosystem:

The white-bellied pangolin is the most widespread species across Africa and is intensively exploited for bushmeat. The species declined by an estimated 25% between 1993 and 2008 and is still continued to be sold on the bushmeat markets today. It is believed to be close to extension in Rwanda.

In Gabon, pangolins are the more sought after species for meat, including the black-bellies and white-bellies.

Because the Asian pangolin populations are so drastically declining but the demand is still high for Chinese medicine, African pangolins are now being shipped to Asian markets to compensate.

Asian pangolins

 

There are 4 sub species of Asian pangolins and two are supported by Wild&Free so far.

Name: Sunda pangolins (Manis javanica), Chinese Pangolins (Manis pentadactyla)

IUCN status: Both Critically Endangered

Stats: Decreasing

Where they are found

Sunda pangolins: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam.

 

- Chinese  pangolins:  Bangladesh , Bhutan,  China,  Hong Kong,  India,  Laos,  Myanmar, Nepal, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam.

 

The centre we support them and where it is located: Save Vietnam's wildlife in Cuc Phuong, Vietnam

 

Short physical description :

The Sunda pangolin has a body length between 40–65 cm and tail length measuring 35–56 cm.It can weigh up to 10 kg. They differ from their cousin, the Chinese pangolin, by having less rows of scales and shorter forelimbs, a longer tail and lighter colouring. 

A Chinese pangolin weighs from 2 to 7 kg. It has 18 rows of overlapping scales accompanied by hair.
The Asian pangolins differ from the African species by the having bristles which emerge from between the scales.

Short behavioural description:

Whilst the geographical range of the Sunda and Chinese pangolins overlaps, the Sunda species leads more of an arboreal lifestyle and is a lot more agile with its semi-prehensile tail in the trees.

 

Chinese pangolins sleep in burrows and those in temperate regions will spend the entire winter months deep underground. The winter burrows are strategically dug near termite nests.

Unlike their African relatives, these Asian species are more likely to give birth to multiple offspring at once. The female carries her baby on her back and when threatened, will curl herself over the baby to protect it from danger.

 

Why they are important to protect / role in ecosystem:

Both species have declined tremendously since the beginning of the commercial trade in the 1990s. The Sunda pangolin is the most trafficked species in Asia, and is extremely scarce in its northern range. Habitat loss is an indirect cause of population decline, as areas being opened up for agricultural purposes makes the animals more exposed to hunters. Pangolins, the Sunda in particular, have weak immune systems and are likely to pick up intestinal parasites when trafficked. They are extremely hard to maintain in captivity, especially due to their diet. This means that very few captive-breeding programmes for the conservation of pangolins exist and they are not a guaranteed solution. Instead, the emphasis must be put on protecting the current wild population.

African Savanna Elephant

Name: African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) .

IUCN status: Vulnerable

Stats: increasing (IUCN last assessed, 2008, fluctuations in peak years for poaching)

Where they are found:  Angola; Benin; Botswana; Burkina Faso; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Equatorial Guinea; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Gabon; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Kenya; Liberia; Malawi; Mali; Mozambique; Namibia; Niger; Nigeria; Rwanda; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Togo; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe

 

The organisation we support them and where it is located:AFeWiS, Tanzania

 

Short physical description :

The savanna elephant is the largest of all elephant species, and therefore of all terrestrial mammals. Males and females differ distinctly in height (averaging at 3.20 m (m) and 2.60 m (f), shoulder height), and females weigh approximately half of their male counterparts. Their ears form a triangular shape and can attain up to 2x1.5 meters large. This feature helps them reduce their body heat against the arid temperatures. Their prehensile trunk is packed with nerves and muscle, which allows them to carry up to 3% of their body weight. This species can also be identified from other elephants by the unique shape of its tusks : curved and spread outwards.

Short behavioural description:

Savanna elephants are adapted to a wide range of terrains, inhabiting temperate forests and grasslands, wetlands, as well as a few populations are found in the sub-saharan desert. They are known for their particularly big social groups, of approximately 10 family members and congregate in groups of up to 70 individuals. These comprise adult females and their offspring. Daughters remain within their family groups whilst bulls separate from the original group at around 15 years of age, with the aim of joining a male herd.
These large elephant herds display intricate types of behaviour and hierarchies. For example, mothers participate in alloparenting, a complex behaviour much like adoption in humans, where a mother will care for another one's offspring. 
Likewise, the socialisation of males growing up is extremely important for their behavioural development. Young bulls from culled families who grew up with no social guidance are shown to be a lot more aggressive.

 

Why they are important to protect / role in ecosystem:

As megaherbivores, savanna elephants play a key role in their ecosystems. They clear grasslands, making room for smaller species to co-exist. The big water holes they dig are beneficial to other wildlife during the dry seasons. They are equally important in forest regeneration through the dispersal of large seeds over much longer distances than any other species.
Their populations are continuously being affected by poaching. The laws on the ivory trade are evasive and ever-changing at the expense of their lives. Due to the growing demand for ivory in Asia and depletion of local elephant populations, African savanna elephants have become the main target for the trade. Between 2003 – 2015, over 14,600 illegal killings of African savanna elephants were officially reported, but it is estimated that the actual number is much higher.
Agricultural changes are also threatening savanna elephant populations. Continuous open spaces are essential for these roaming animals, and impeding on their habitat limits their range. Additionally, increased logging facilitates the poachers' access to elephants.

African Savanna Elephant

Name: African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) 

IUCN status: Vulnerable

Stats: increasing (IUCN last assessed, 2008, fluctuations in peak years for poaching)

Where they are found:  Angola; Benin; Botswana; Burkina Faso; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Equatorial Guinea; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Gabon; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Kenya; Liberia; Malawi; Mali; Mozambique; Namibia; Niger; Nigeria; Rwanda; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Togo; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe

 

The organisation we support them and where it is located: AFeWiS, Tanzania

 

Short physical description :

The savanna elephant is the largest of all elephant species, and therefore of all terrestrial mammals. Males and females differ distinctly in height (averaging at 3.20 m (m) and 2.60 m (f), shoulder height), and females weigh approximately half of their male counterparts. Their ears form a triangular shape and can attain up to 2x1.5 meters large. This feature helps them reduce their body heat against the arid temperatures. Their prehensile trunk is packed with nerves and muscle, which allows them to carry up to 3% of their body weight. This species can also be identified from other elephants by the unique shape of its tusks : curved and spread outwards.

Short behavioural description:

Savanna elephants are adapted to a wide range of terrains, inhabiting temperate forests and grasslands, wetlands, as well as a few populations are found in the sub-saharan desert. They are known for their particularly big social groups, of approximately 10 family members and congregate in groups of up to 70 individuals. These comprise adult females and their offspring. Daughters remain within their family groups whilst bulls separate from the original group at around 15 years of age, with the aim of joining a male herd.
These large elephant herds display intricate types of behaviour and hierarchies. For example, mothers participate in alloparenting, a complex behaviour much like adoption in humans, where a mother will care for another one's offspring. 
Likewise, the socialisation of males growing up is extremely important for their behavioural development. Young bulls from culled families who grew up with no social guidance are shown to be a lot more aggressive.

 

Why they are important to protect / role in ecosystem:

As megaherbivores, savanna elephants play a key role in their ecosystems. They clear grasslands, making room for smaller species to co-exist. The big water holes they dig are beneficial to other wildlife during the dry seasons. They are equally important in forest regeneration through the dispersal of large seeds over much longer distances than any other species.
Their populations are continuously being affected by poaching. The laws on the ivory trade are evasive and ever-changing at the expense of their lives. Due to the growing demand for ivory in Asia and depletion of local elephant populations, African savanna elephants have become the main target for the trade. Between 2003 – 2015, over 14,600 illegal killings of African savanna elephants were officially reported, but it is estimated that the actual number is much higher.
Agricultural changes are also threatening savanna elephant populations. Continuous open spaces are essential for these roaming animals, and impeding on their habitat limits their range. Additionally, increased logging facilitates the poachers' access to elephants.

Sumatran Elephant

Name: Sumatran elephant (Elephas maximus sumatranus)

IUCN status: Critically endangered

Stats: Population decreasing

Where they are found: Sumatra (Indonesia)

 

The organisation we support them and where it is located: Forum Konservasi Leuser (FKL), Leuser, Sumatra.

 

Short physical description :

The Sumatran elephant is a subspecies of the Asian elephant and are usually smaller than African elephants. They reach a shoulder height between 2- 3.2 meters and weigh around five tons. Females are generally smaller than males with short or no tusks at all. This subspecies is lighter skin-coloured than other Asian subspecies.

Short behavioural description:

Like most elephants, the Sumatran subspecies is highly sociable, living in herds which are dominated by the largest adult female. They inhabit moist tropical forests. Males leave the herd at their adolescence whilst the females remain with their natal group. They are diurnal and travel together, feeding on fruits, leaves and wild herbs. Females will give birth to a single offspring once every four years.

 

Why they are important to protect / role in ecosystem:

Habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict and poaching are continuously affecting their populations, with an estimate of 69% lost in the past 25 years. Fragmented areas are a threat to elephants as these areas are too small to be viable elephant habitat. As a result, many areas have experienced local extinctions. The illegal expansion of agricultural areas for palm oil and paper industries have caused rapid deforestation. Increased human settlements has resulted in elephants raiding croplands or trampling homes. Consequently, individuals are often killed out of retaliation but also for their ivory. As giant herbivores, the Sumatran elephant are considered keystone species of their forests, by keeping them healthy through the seed dispersal of various plants and creating clearings for plants to grow.

Slow Loris

Name: Sunda slow loris (Nycticebus coucang)

IUCN status: Vulnerable, last assessed in 2008

Stats: Decreasing

Where they are found:  Sumatran islands of Indonesia, the Malaysian peninsula, the south peninsula of Thailand and in Singapore.

 

The centre we support them and where it is located: Indonesian Species Conservation Programme (ISCP) in North Sumatra, Indonesia

 

Short physical description :

The slow loris is a strepsirrhini primate, a suborder that includes lemuriens and galagos, characterised by their wet-nose and improved night vision. The Sunda slow loris measures 27-38 cm long and varies between 600-700 g. They have distinctly large eyes surrounded by dark rings and their reddish coat differentiates them from the Bengal slow loris with whom they share their habitat. Their toothcomb teeth structure is primarily used for grooming, but unlike other strepsirrhini primates, the Sunda slow loris also uses this trait to extract gum when foraging.

Short behavioural description:

Sunda slow lorises are arboreal and nocturnal primates. Typically solitary animals, spatial groups can be formed of one male, one female and a few young. They have a unique locomotary trait among primates, similar to crawling with three limbs on the tree surface at any one time. They display contact and aggression calls. Females also vocalise a call out of human range to attract males. They are cryptic species that rely on camouflage to hide from predators but also secrete a toxic gland that they spread across their body and use this toxic-covered fur to warn off predators. Females generally give birth to one young per litter.

 

Why they are important to protect / role in ecosystem:

Like many stepsirrhinis, these small primates are major victims to the exotic pet trade and sold throughout Asia. They experience harsh cruelty such as the removal of their teeth to avoid injuring their new « owner ». They are also sought out for their fur, eyes and meat which are believed to cure various diseases. The wild populations also succumb to increased habitat loss and fragmentation, which are increasingly dangerous for these obligate arboreal animals.

Bornean Orangutan

Name: Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus)

IUCN status: Critically Endangered

Stats: Population decreasing

Where they are found:  Bornean Indonesia (Kalimantan) and Malaysia (Sarawak and Sabah in Malaysia)

 

The centre we support them and where it is located: The Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP), located in East Kalimantan in Indonesian Borneo and BOS.

 

Short physical description :

Second largest ape after the gorilla, orangutans are the only truely arboreal great ape. Bornean orangutans are considerably heavier than other orangutan species (average 75kg for males, 38kg for females). They are well-recognised for their reddish coat and long arms with prehensile hands and feet. The species experience definite sexual dimorphism, with males having big cheek pads made of fat, larger canines and a more visible beard. Their lifespan in the wild is estimated at 35-45 years.

Short behavioural description:

Bornean orangutans inhabit tropical and subtropical forests. They are more solitary than the Sumatran species and despite being tree-dwellers, are more prone to spending time on the forest ground than other orangutans. Males in particular, will only seek company for mating and will express defensive behaviour when approaching another male. Orangutans display learning behaviour, with the mothers teaching their young to build nests. This, along with their ability to use spears to catch fish, displays tool-use in orangutans. The young stay with their mother for the first 7 years (on average), at which point they will also start to interact with others.

 

Why they are important to protect / role in ecosystem:

Bornean orangutans are heavily impacted by habitat loss, illegal logging and fires due to the expansion of palm-oil plantations and mining. This induces a lack of nutrients which in linked to a decline in birth rates. Changes in rainfall due to climate change also threatens food abundance and habitat shifting. Moreover, orangutans are threatened by bushmeat and the pet trade. Approximately 200-500 individuals are taken into the pet trade every year. The current population is estimated to be 14% of what it was in the mid-20th century. They are a keystone species, serving as a primary seed-disperser of many rainforest plants, able to digest large seeds than other animals can't. The low reproductive rate and long parental care of orangutans makes these threats ever so more important for the species' survival.

Yucatan Howler Monkeys

Name: Yucatan howler monkey (Alouatta pigra)

IUCN status: Endangered

Stats: Population decreasing

Where they are found:  Belize, Guatemala, Mexico (Chiapas, Yucatán, Quintana Roo, Campeche, Tabasco)

 

The centre we support them and where it is located: Wiltracks Belize, in Belize

 

Short physical description :

The Guatemalan howler monkey is one of the largest New World primates with their distinct long, black hair and a prehensile tail surpassing the length of their body. Under the tail is the only hairless part of their body, which allows them to use it for grip. The species gets its name due to the enlarged hyoid bone in the throat of males that amplifies their vocalisations into a « howl ». They have specialised dentistry that allows them to feed primarily on leaves.

Short behavioural description:

These social animals are tree-dwellers and determine their territories via vocalisations.Typically, their social groups consist of one male, several females and their offspring. Other males may join the group as an anti-predator defense strategy. Their distinctly loud vocalisations occur typically early morning and late evening, and can be heard from 3 km away. They are more likely to move by walking limb to limb rather than jumping from one tree to another. They are diurnal species, spending their days foraging and feeding whilst sleeping high up the rainforest canopy at night. Females usually give birth to one young a year and cares for it over the next 12 months. Whilst males leave their natal group around 7 years old, females stay within their original social group.

 

Why they are important to protect / role in ecosystem:

This is an endemic species and categorised as endangered with a predicted population loss of 74% in the next 30 years. Population decline is caused by hunting, habitat loss due to conversion to agricultural land, logging, the pet trade but also extreme weather events and diseases. In areas affected by human disturbance, the groups are fewer in size and frequency. They play an important role as seed dispersers, with their frugivorous diets contributing to rainforest plant survival.

Geoffroy's spider monkey

Name: Geoffrey's spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi)

IUCN status: Endangered

Stats: Population decreasing

Where they are found:  Belize; Colombia; Costa Rica; El Salvador; Guatemala; Mexico; Nicaragua, Panama

 

The centre we support them and where it is located: Wiltracks Belize, in Belize

 

Short physical description :

Geoffroy's spider monkey is another large New World primate with at least five known subspecies. Spider monkeys are so-called due to their long and slender limbs. With a body measuring between 30-60 cm (males on the taller side), they have a prehensile tail longer that their bodies and arms longer than their legs They have opposable toes to help grasp branches but no thumbs since their hook-like fingers are sufficient to allow these monkeys to swing through the trees. Whereas their body colour can vary, their hands and feet are black (they are also known as « black-handed spider monkey ») and their face is pale and bare-skinned.

Short behavioural description:

Geoffrey's spider monkeys are diurnal and tree-dwelling, but spend more time on the ground than other species of spider monkey. They can be seen walking, running on four legs or climbing but also use their arms and prehensile tail for suspensory locomotion. This is another highly social species of primate averaging 30 individuals in one group with a split male/female demography. Geoffrey's spider monkeys exhibit « fission-fusion » behaviour by which their larger group splits into smaller subgroups for activities such as foraging before regrouping in the evening. Their home range is particularly large, sometimes covering up to 900 hectares. The species produce a wide range of vocalisations for different necessities but each have a unique sound, enabling individuals to recognise each other. Research has shown that they are highly intelligent primates, ahead of gorillas. Whereas females leave their original group around 4 years old, males remain within their natal group, which can explain their strong bonds.

 

Why they are important to protect / role in ecosystem:

As a frugivorous animal, Geoffrey's spider monkey is essential in seed dispersal, especially since they cover large tracts of land. Their active foraging contributes substantially to tree growth, as the organic matter provides sediments to the soil. In 45 years, the species has experienced a 50% decline due to habitat loss, which is even more threatening for a species requiring such a large range. They are also victims of the pet trade and hunting.

Iberian Lynx

Name: Iberian lynx ( Lynx pardinus)

IUCN status: Endangered

Stats: Population increasing

Where they are found: Spain (limited areas), Portugal (reintroduction)

 

The centre we support them and where it is located: LPN, Portugal

 

Short physical description :

The Iberian lynx is the smallest of lynx species, half the weight of the Eurasian lynx, averaging at 12 kg. Its coat ranges from yellow to tawny-coloured and is covered in dark spots. The coat is a lot shorter than other lynx species, demonstrating it's adaptation to hot and dry climates. They have tufted black ears, a distinct « beard » around their faces and a short body relative to its long legs.

Short behavioural description:

The Iberian lynx is adapted to a hot and dry climate of southern Spain. It lives in heterogenous environments of open grasslands with dense shrubs. Due to being much smaller than its relative lynx species, this lynx hunts much smaller prey, mainly rabbits (75% of diet). This is a solitary species and hunts alone. Females go in search for males during breeding season, and typically give birth to a litter of 2-3 kittens. They will remain with their mother during the first 20 months before leaving the den. The survival of the young depends largely on rabbit availability.

 

Why they are important to protect / role in ecosystem:

As an apex predator, lynxes are strong indicators of ecosystem health. Once widespread across the Iberian peninsula and southern France, they are now restricted to very limited regions of Spain, and only two of these are known to be breeding populations. The population went down to 200 individuals in 2002. Habitat loss through intensive farming, burning of grasslands and urbanisation has deprived the lynx of its home range. In addition, a severe decline in rabbit populations, their preferred prey item, has had a domino effect on the lynx populations. Reintroduction programmes have succeeded in increasing the population, however it remains very fragile. Illegal traps and road accidents are the cause of half of non-natural deaths in the Iberian lynx.

Chacma Baboon

Name: Chacma baboon (Papio ursinus)

IUCN status: Least concern

Stats: Population decreasing

Where they are found: Angola; Botswana; Eswatini; Lesotho; Mozambique; Namibia; South Africa; Zambia; Zimbabwe.

 

The centre we support them and where it is located: Riverside Rehabilitation Centre, South Africa

 

Short physical description :

Chacma baboons are one of the largest and heaviest monkeys, with females considerably smaller than males. They are generally dark brown/ grey-ish with a patch of rough hair on their necks. The males differ from other baboon species by lacking a mane. This species is recognisable by its long, stroopy face and large canines. There are three subspecies of chacma baboons, differing slightly in colour and size.

Short behavioural description:

Chacma baboons inhabit woodlands, savannas, alpine slopes and rocky areas. They sleep high up to avoid predators, and in arid areas, their home range is determined by water availability. Their broad omnivorous diets allow them to occupy various environments. They have complex social dynamics. The groups consist of multiple males and females and their offspring. Female dominance is inherited and fixed whereas male dominance fluctuates. The entire group participates in synchronised morning foraging. Both males and females participate in parental care and chacmas are known to adopt orphaned baboons. Baboon troops communicate through vocalisations, body attitudes, facial expressing and touch.

 

Why they are important to protect / role in ecosystem:

The chacma baboon is not characterised as an endangered species, however, in certain areas their populations are undergoing a decline due to habitat loss for agricultural purposes, irrigation and urbanisation. They have adapted to urbanisation, creating chaos while searching for food in streets and displaying aggressive behaviour. As a result, they are hunted and poisoined by local residents. Their foraging techniques include digging for roots which makes nutrients from the ground available to larger animals. Like most primates, they play an important role in dispersing seeds.

Vervet monkey

Name: Vervet monkey (Chlorocebus pygerythrus)

IUCN status: Least concern

Stats: Stable

Where they are found: Botswana; Burundi; Eswatini; Ethiopia; Kenya; Malawi; Mozambique; Rwanda; Somalia; South Africa; Tanzania; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe

 

The centre we support them and where it is located: Riverside Rehabilitation Centre, South Africa

 

Short physical description :

Vervet monkeys have a black, hairless face and ears, surrounded by white tufted hair and overall gray/ light brown fur on its back and a white belly. Their sitting posture is very human-like, with long arms and legs. Males are heavier and taller than females. Individuals average between 30-60 cm in body length.

Short behavioural description:

Vervet monkeys spend time both in trees and on the ground, typically in the savanna, woodlands and mountains. They are highly adaptable, enabling them to occupy various habitat types and even urban environments. They live in social groups between 10 – 40 individuals, mostly females and a few males. Females remain in their natal group and follow a hierarchy, whereas males will move away to a different group overtime. These monkeys have complex social structures, exhibiting a range of alarm calls, allomothering and distinct kin-relationships. Females give birth once a year, to one offspring or twins.

 

Why they are important to protect / role in ecosystem:

Whilst not classified as endangered, vervet monkeys often conflict with landowners and as a result are killed and/or hunted for bushmeat. Because they are easy to manipulate, closely related to humans and contract similar diseases, they are captured and sold for medical research in the United States. Due to their fragile social groups, killings of certain individuals is known to affect others in the troops causing further decline. Vervet monkeys serve a purpose as both prey and seed dispersers in their ecosystems. They are a highly adaptable species that play crucial roles across many habitats.

Wild & Free - Rehabilitation and Release

UK registered charity N°1158750

www.wildnfree.org

Tel: +44 7815553834