Abstract # 6222 Poster # 75:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 18, 2015 06:00 PM-08:00 PM: (Cascade AJBCD) Poster Presentation


MORE MONKEYS THAN PEOPLE? POPULATION SIZE AND ECOLOGICAL FLEXIBILITY IN ST. KITTS VERVET MONKEYS (CHLOROCEBUS AETHIOPS SABAEUS)

K. M. Dore1,2, A. Mill2,3, C. Gallagher2 and A. R. Eller4
1Marist College, School of Science, Poughkeepsie, New York, USA, 2Center for Conservation Medicine and Ecosystem Health, Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, St. Kitts, 3School of Biology, Newcastle University, UK, 4Dept of Anthropology, University of Oregon, Eugene OR
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     African green vervet monkeys have thrived in St. Kitts since the mid-1600s. Today, vervets occupy at least four distinct habitats: the dry scrubland of the southeast peninsula, residential areas, agricultural areas, and the rainforest interior. This systematic estimate of the St. Kitts vervet population aims to establish the range size (using GPS/GSM tracking devices) and group size (using visual observations from hides) of at least two troops living in each habitat. Thus far, we have tracked two adult males from two troops on the southeast peninsula for three months and observed their respective troops for approximately 20 hours each. The average range size of these troops is 59.7ha and the average group size is 50 individuals. Assuming that: 1) these results are consistent for all troops in St. Kitts, 2) vervets inhabit the entire island, and 3) there is no overlap between troop territories, these results indicate a potential island-wide population of up to 18,000 individuals. This is a low estimate, as troops in the other habitats are likely to have much smaller ranges. St. Kitts is 68 km2, and has long been a resource-strapped island. This level of vervet resourcefulness and ecological flexibility is an exciting and rare opportunity to study primate adaptability. The growing vervet population is an issue of genuine concern among Kittitians that demands innovative ethnoprimatological methods and analyses to resolve.