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Is the Southern Patas Monkey Africa’s Next Primate Extinction?

Yvonne A. de Jong and Thomas M. Butynski

The charismatic, semi-terrestrial, southern patas monkey Erythrocebus baumstarki, is probably now restricted in the protected savannas of the western Serengeti (central northern Tanzania). It seems that, at present, fewer than 200 individuals occupy about 15% (9,700 km²) of their early 20th century geographic range. This large, slender, long-limbed, primate once occurred in the acacia woodlands near Mount Kilimanjaro and in southern Kenya but was extirpated from these areas prior to 2016 due to factors related to the rapidly increasing human population. The main threats are the degradation, loss, and fragmentation of natural habitats, and competition with people and livestock for habitat and water. Poaching and domestic dogs are also threats. As a result, this shy and secretive monkey is listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species [Website:  https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/92252436/92252442].

Biogeography of the Egyptian mongoose Herpestes ichneumon (Linnaeus, 1758) in Africa, with first records for Laikipia County, central Kenya

New article:
Dedan K. Ngatia, Paul W. Webala, Mugo J. Mware, Thomas M. Butynski,  Yvonne A. de Jong, Adam W. Ferguson (2021). African Journal of Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/aje.12830

Abstract: The paucity of studies on Egyptian mongoose Herpestes ichneumon (Linnaeus, 1758) in Africa highlights the need for baseline information on the geographic range of this species as well as factors that may determine its distribution. This study presents eight novel locality records of H. ichneumon in Laikipia County, central Kenya, addresses questions on the species’ distribution in Africa, and predicts environmental (climatic) suitability across its range. From a total of 4,822 H. ichneumon occurrence records, we used 4,432 georeferenced records to generate distribution maps, conduct ecological niche modelling, and identify environmental limits for this species across its range with a focus on Africa. 20% of all records originate from continental Africa, including 121 records for Kenya. Despite extensive field research and predicted habitat suitability, H. ichneumon has not been previously reported in Laikipia County. Our niche models, however, predicted parts of Laikipia to be environmentally suitable for H. ichneumon. Similarly, our new distribution maps show extended geographic ranges both in Laikipia and Kenya as compared to the 2016 IUCN map. The eight Laikipia records underscore the limited knowledge for this species, its distribution, and its environmental requirements in Africa.

Full article

Egyptian mongoose Herpestes ichneumon, Tumbili Estate, Laikipia, Kenya. Photograph by Yvonne de Jong & Tom Butynski.

Lolldaiga Hills Ranch Bird List Reaches 421 Species

By Tom Butynski and Yvonne de Jong

The taxonomy and vernacular names for the Birds of Lolldaiga Hills Ranch have been up-dated using the new (2019) Checklist of the Birds of Kenya (fifth edition). This checklist was compiled by the Bird Committee of Nature Kenya/East Africa Natural History Society. The new Birds of Lolldaiga Hills Ranch lists 421 species. Thus, Lolldaiga Hills Ranch (c. 200 km2) holds no less than 37% of Kenya’s 1,113 species of bird.

Download the Lolldaiga Hills Ranch Bird List here.

We thank Lorna Depew for undertaking this revision.

Lilac-breasted roller Coracias caudata. Photograph by Yvonne de Jong & Tom Butynski.

Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu Uraeginthus b. bengalus. Photograph by Heather Wall.