|Town/Region||Sidama Highlands, Bale Mountains|
|Date||28 May 2012|
Bale monkey (Chlorocebus djamdjamensis) is one of the little known African primates endemic to the southern Ethiopian highlands. Bale monkey is the most range-restricted of its sister taxa savannah monkeys (Chlorocebus spp.) containing six species. Unlike other savannah monkeys which are habitat generalists and feeding on a variety of diets, Bale monkeys primarily inhabit bamboo forest and described as bamboo forest habitat specialists with high dietary specialization on bamboo young leaves accounting 77% of their diet. The total population size has never been estimated except at Odobullu Forest and their distribution pattern has never been thoroughly mapped to date. In the recent surveys, Bale monkeys were discovered in the extended forests in the Bale Mountains and in the human dominated landscape of Sidama and Guji areas where bamboo was deforested decades ago. However, such surveys did not cover the whole range of the Bale Mountains and southern Ethiopian highlands. Therefore, the current study aims to fill these gaps to determine the distribution, population size, and potential suitable habitats that need to be prioritized for protection both in the Oromia, and Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Regions, Ethiopia.
Distributional survey will be carried out using presence/absence surveys through direct observations throughout the potential habitats from 2m resolution satellite image and interviews with the local people showing the photographs of Chlorocebus species. Forest surveys will be conducted early in the morning and late afternoon. Population estimate, habitat association and abundance of Bale monkeys will be carried out by transect sampling methods. Potential suitable habitats will be identified from presence/absence habitat suitability model (sightings from transect sampling) that integrate land cover types identified from satellite image, slope and elevation.
Thus, data on the distribution, abundance, population size, habitat association, and habitat suitability map of Bale monkeys is imperative for developing future conservation and management strategies to conserve the species and its preferred habitats.
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