Types of monkey -

Kipunji Monkey

Rungwecebus kipunji

kip monkey

The location of the kipunji monkey (Rungwecebus kipunji) that are popular in southern Tanzania (Davenport et al. 2006), proved that there is still a lot to discover about Africa's forests. In addition, the region's primate fauna, Kipunji were primarily individually located by groups working in the Southern Highlands and Udzungwa Mountains in 2003 and 2004, in sites that are some 350 km apart (Davenport et al. , 2006). They were first placed in the Lophocebus group, however, later molecular and morphological studies guided the monkey's to be placed in a novel monospecific group Rungwecebus, hence, they became the first new class of illustrated African monkeys in 83 years (Davenport et al. 2006). Additionally, molecular studies have supported the validity of the group and bodily research is in progress.

Nevertheless, the kipunji is one of the world's most endangered primates, as confirmed by up to date census, which offered the first methodically-developed statistics on the animal's richness and supply (Davenport et al. 2008). Kipunji are mysterious, sporadic, and in critical need of preservation (Davenport et al. 2006), and subsequently a full count was done, after a review to make sure a correct population estimation (Davenport et al. 2008). The census verified that the kipunji is possibly Africa's scarcest monkey, and offered first-hand records in support of its authorised description as 'Critically Endangered' on the 2008 IUCN Red List, with the group confronting an incredibly huge threat of elimination in the wild (Davenport et al. 2008).

The Kipunji is limited to a distinct part of the forests of Mount Rungwe and the nearby Livingstone (in Kitulo National Park) in the Southern Highlands, and the Vikongwa area of the Ndundulu forest (in the new Kilombero Nature Reserve) in the Udzungwa Mountains. The Mount Rungwe-Livingstone population resides in ruined submontane and montane forest between 1,750 and 2,450 m above sea level, while the Ndundulu population lives between 1,300 and 1,750 m above sea level in submontane forest (Davenport et al. 2006, 2008). Kipunji have not been noted in the Udzungwa Mountains National Park itself, although it has been noted 1.9 km outside the park boundary (Jones 2006). Kipunji have not been noted from other forests in either the Southern Highlands or the Udzungwa Mountains even though wide surveys have been done there. A total of 34 kipunji groups were identified in the Southern Highlands with a total population of approximately 1,042 at some phase in the census. Out of these, 501 creatures in 16 groups were totalled in Mount Rungwe and 541 creatures from 18 groups in the Livingstone forest of Kitulo National Park. Only four groups were recognised with an approximate total of 75 animals, in Ndundulu. Consequently, the entire world-wide population of the kipunji , is likely to be simply 1,117 animals, living in some 38 groups (Davenport et al. 2008).

A total population of merely 1,117 animals is too small. As already recorded , both the Mount Rungwe and Livingstone forests are seriously damaged and secluded perceiving examination of forest shelter has verified that the amount of habitat relation between the several groups is incredibly weak(Davenport 2005, 2006). The Mount Rungwe- Kitulo section of the population definitely comprises of a number of secluded sub-populations and this is made worse by the bad state of the slim Bujingijila Corridor that joins Mount Rungwe and Livingstone (Davenport 2005). The Mount Rungwe-Kitulo population will be damaged more because of the loss of this corridor. Additionally, this population carries on being hunted (Davenport 2005, 2006).

The delicate status of the population in Ndundulu is especially concerning and its causes are not known. Nevertheless, given the existing thought about primate population sizes, it might be that this population is not worthwhile anymore (Davenport et al.2008). The latest census also divulged a fascinating and statistically significant difference in mean group size between the Rungwe-Kitulo and the Ndundulu populations (Davenport et al. 2008). This might be because of the small total population size in Ndundulu, or because of destruction, decreased reserve patches and availability of food in Rungwe-Kitulo, as established in other primate species. Either way, the Kipunji is more sporadically dispersed than originally believed (Jones et al. 2005). The complete EoO (species range) is just 17.69 km2 raising much preservation concerns, and being significantly less than the 100 km2 needed to fulfil the 'Critically Endangered' criterion of the IUCN Red List.

541 creatures are projected to live in Livingstone, a forest that has been merged into Kitulo National Park. This ought to considerably enhance safety for the Kipunji groups in this area, however, the forest is extremely damaged (Davenport 2006), and unlawful actions, including logging and hunting of primates, is only just being brought under control. Not long ago, a new management plan for Kitulo National Park has been created, in which the obligation for research and observation of the kipunji falls to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). There are no urgent plans to condition the animal for tourism until suitable and detailed research has been carried out on its possible effects. Nevertheless, a part of the forest that is attached to Mount Rungwe, and comprising groups of Kipunji, is being rented to, and managed by, WCS at the moment. The Kipunji are being examined and observed full time by WCS staff as well as national and international students.

Over 51% of the total Kipunji population resides in forests with fairly little management. Nevertheless, there are reasons for hope. Ndundulu Forest Reserve was taken in by the new Kilombero Nature Reserve in 2007 under the backing of the Forestry and Beekeeping Division of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism (Marshall et al. 2007) . Likewise, Mount Rungwe, an n abandoned Catchment Forest Reserve for a long time, is currently in the final stages of becoming a nature reserve too. This will supplement the nearby national park and permit community participation. An organisation plan has been written, and standby rangers have been hired and trained. Nevertheless, it will take some time before unlawful activities are regulated, even with maximum disposable funds by authorities.

The explanations for the animal's distinct circulation are being investigated upon Mount. Rungwe, where forest sanction, hunting and destruction cause the greatest risk. Additionally, research is being conducted on features of the Kipunji's social and reproductive behaviour, feeding ecology, home range dynamics, predation and demography. Throughout Rungwe-Kitulo, the secluded sub-populations might be subjected to a loss of genetic adaptability by now because of a limited successful population that is reproducing. Several might no longer be feasible; this is being investigated too. In the meantime, Southern Ndundulu, is in great condition, mainly because of its secluded location (Davenport and Jones 2005). Nevertheless, the sustainability of the 7% of the Kipunji population should be regarded as ambiguous. There is a possibility that this population is basically becoming extinct 'naturally', although studies into the reasons for, and the sustainability of, the tiny Udzungwa population is continuing. It is controversial whether any definite primate conservation channels could or should be utilised in a fundamentally unobstructed habitat. The safety and renewal of the Montane forest environments of Mount Rungwe, extensive environmental education, and assistance to both management authorities and local communities across the span is the emphasis of applied Kipunji conservation work is at the moment.


  • Davenport, T. R. B. 2005. Finding kipunji. Africa Geographic 13(7): 56-61.
  • Davenport, T. R. B. 2006. Plants, primates and people. Conservation in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania. Miombo (28):7-8.
  • Davenport, T. R. B., W. T. Stanley, E. J. Sargis, D. W. De Luca, N. E. Mpunga, S. J. Machaga and L. E. Olson. 2006. A new genus of African monkey, Rungwecebus: morphology, ecology, and molecular phylogenetics. Science 312: 1378-1381.
  • Davenport, T. R. B., D. W. De Luca, T. Jones, N. E. Mpunga, S. Machaga and G. Picton-Phillipps. 2008. The kipunji Rungwecebus kipunji of southern Tanzania: first census and assessments of distribution and conservation status. Oryx 42(3): 352-359.
  • Jones T. P. 2006. Kipunji in Ndundulu Forest, Tanzania: distribution, abundance and conservation status. Unpublished report for Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF), Washington, DC, Fauna and Flora International (FFI), Cambridge, UK, and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), New York. 28pp.
  • Marshall, A. R., Z. Aloyce, S. Mariki, T. Jones, N. Burgess, F. Kilahama, J. Massao, E. Nashanda, C. Sawe, F. Rovero and J. Watkin. Tanzania's second nature reserve: improving the conservation status of the Udzungwa Mountains? Oryx 41: 429-430.

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