The Star (Nairobi)

12 January 2013

Kenya: Nairobi Park Diary - Sykes Monkey

In the past wildlife roamed freely in the Nairobi area as there was very little human development. However, in the last 50 years the city has grown dramatically and most of the species now reside inside the Nairobi National Park ( gazetted in 1946). But due to the fact that Nairobi district has so many large trees, many monkey species have continued to move in this area.

Early one morning as I entered the main gate, I saw a family of sykes monkeys walking in the road and feeding from the fruits in the trees including a large male who seemed to be blind in one eye. They were very relaxed and not frightened by my appearance. As I watched them, I reflected on when and where I had seen them in the Nairobi park. Over the years they have been mainly seen in the Langata forest area. They also frequent the area around the Kenya Wildlife Service headquarters. About a year ago, I did observe a large troop of about 30 individuals. They are also often seen in the surrounding suburbs around Nairobi district especially where there are large trees. They are wonderful to watch at times. However, they can be a bit of a nuisance when they enter homes to grab food like fruit.

Sykes' monkey (Cercopithecus albogularis), also known as the white-throated monkey or Samango monkey, is an Old World monkey found between Ethiopia and South Africa, including south and east Democratic Republic of Congo. It has been considered conspecific with the blue monkey. There are 12 subspecies of Sykes' Monkey in the Nairobi area Cercopithecus albogularis kolbi -

( Mount Kenya Sykes' monkey) is found.

The park is open daily from 06h00 to 19h00.

For more information on the park you can link to the following websites www.kws.org or www.nairobigreenline.com or on facebook - Nairobi national park

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