Yesterday afternoon Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency ranger Bulelani Dyonase contacted museum scientist Kevin Cole to report a baby male Samango (Sykes) monkey which had been separated from its mother. The incident happened on a busy section of road at the beginning of Buffalo Pass. The troop were supposedly crossing when the separation happened. Attempts to locate the troop and re-unite the young Samango with its mother proved fruitless.
By late afternoon Kevin and Bulelani made a call to secure the young animal for foster care. Bulalani had kept the baby safe until it was collected by BCMM Senior Manager (Marine and Zoological Services) Siani Tinley. Siani did not hesitate to respond to a plea for assistance and collected the baby for overnight care.
This morning the monkey was delivered to two foster parents (both certified in animal rehabilitation) to take care of him.
This is a first museum record of a baby Samango rescue and by late afternoon and this morning Siani reported that the youngster was responding well. The Umtiza Forest Reserve (slightly inland and west of the airport) is the home to these shy, gentle monkeys.
They only occur as isolated populations in forest pockets from the Eastern Cape northwards to Mozambique and eastern Zimbabwe. We are really privileged to have Samango monkeys living in the metro. They are darker than the more common Vervet Monkey and have a distinguishing creamy white throat and belly. Males are larger (7-9 kg) than the females (4-5 kg) and a single young is normally born between August and November. They sometimes eat insects but prefer fruits, gum, leaves, flowers and seeds. This baby would only have been weaned by next year May.
They live in troops of up to 30 individuals and they are much more arboreal than the Vervet Monkey. Their day range distance can be up to 1.5 km.
References: The complete book of southern African mammals compiled by Gus Mills and Lex Hes &
Field guide to mammals of southern Africa by Chris and Tilde Stuart