Why Colobus Monkeys (Colobus guereza) are Attracted to Human Settlements, and Urinate When They Come Across Humans in Their Territory and in Predator Dominant Places? Observation from Bale Mountains National Park, in Ethiopia

Israel Petros Menbere


Colobus guereza is among the native African primates characterized by a having mainly black, short-haired tails with a small amount of white at the tip. The current study was made on groups of C. guereza found in Bale Mountains National Park, in the east of Rift Valley in Ethiopia. It is commonly called Colobus guereza gallarum though the taxonomy of this group has not been well-resolved. The aim of this paper was to identify the reasons for high abundance of the species in human settlements and related behavioural responses to human appearance in their territory following the recent observation made in Bale Mountains National Park. These issues were addressed through exploration of similar studies in different organisms including primates and referring various journals. The study indicated the high abundance of the species in human settlement has been associated with the need of protection from predators as interactions with humans can buffer non-human primates against the negative impact of environmental factors. Similarly, the urination of C. guereza was found to be anti-predator strategy, which has been demonstrated in combination with alarm calls, running back and forth, etc in other primates. The close attraction of C. guereza to human settlements can affect their existence either positively or negatively. Those unable to adapt to altered habitats will be forced into marginal habitat patches. While those that adapt, are able to live with the changing ecology and survive in agricultural systems often come into direct competition with humans. Similarly, the greater human-primate contact can increase pathogen transmission. Urination which was observed in C. guereza plays key roles in animal territorial defense and in prey-predator interaction. This overlooked behavioural aspect of primates is crucial in conservation of species.

Keywords: Attract, Colobus guereza, human settlements, territory, urination.

DOI: 10.7176/ALST/75-02

Publication date:June 30th 2019

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ISSN (Paper)2224-7181 ISSN (Online)2225-062X

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