Nutritional Ecology and the Conservation of Mona Monkey (Cercopithecus Mona, Schreber, 1774) in Selected Urban, Semi-Urban and wild Habitats of southwestern Nigeria
A Thesis Submitted to the School of Postgraduate Studies, University of Lagos
The mona monkey (Cercopithecus mona) is an arboreal Old World primate that depends on forest resources for its sustenance. Due to anthropogenic activities, forest covers are fast declining globally. The foods of the mona monkey in degraded habitats need to be understood in order to strategically plan for its conservation. This study determined the food and nutritional ecology of mona monkeys in three locations in Southwest Nigeria; an urban area, the University of Lagos (UNILAG); a semi-urban reserve, Lekki Conservation Centre (LCC), Lagos State; and a wild habitat, the Okomu National Park (ONP), Edo State. Food types and their seasonal availability were determined during a two year dry and rainy seasons‟ survey using focal point technique and all animal feeding behavior method. Proximate, fibre fraction and amino acids analyses of the plant foods were conducted using standard procedures. Given used foods to mona monkeys in captivity was conducted for preference trials. Likert-scale questionnaires were administered to community members in each location to determine their attitude towards mona monkeys‟ conservation. Different parts of 64 plant species from 38 families were identified as components of mona monkeys‟ diets and of which 56% were fruits. Gmelina arborea and Jateorhiza macrantha fruits were identified as two new foods. The number of foods consumed by mona monkeys in urban, semi-urban and wild habitats were 39, 19, and 29 respectively. Natural foods constituted 33.0%, 71.0% and 79.0%, while the sum of raided, provisioned, and scavenged foods made up 67.0%, 39.0% and 21.0% of the monkeys‟ diets in urban, semi-urban and wild habitats respectively. There was a significant difference (P < 0.05) in the number of available foods in the three locations; the difference was between UNILAG and LCC number of foods. The highest similarity quotient for the monkeys‟ food of 32.7% was between UNILAG and LCC suggesting a similarity between the two habitats in comparison to ONP. The numbers of rainy season‟s foods were more than that of dry seasons‟ in all the locations, with some foods occurring in both seasons. The mean percent crude protein of dry season foods in UNILAG was 12.12 2.68 (SEM, n=14); ether extract, crude fibre and nitrogen free extract values were 14.97 , 9.87 , and 56.95 respectively. There was no significant difference (P>0.05) in the nutrient content of foods from all locations except for ether extract values of foods in UNILAG and ONP that were significantly different (P< 0.05). There was a strong negative correlation (r= -.77, P= .001) between crude protein and nitrogen free extract, and a strong positive correlation (r= .70, P= .003) between acid detergent lignin and acid detergent fibre of the dry season foods in UNILAG. The monkeys‟ food preference was in the order Musa sapientum > Zea mays > Solanum melongena. These foods had high nitrogen free extract values, implying high energy content. In UNILAG, personal factors did not show significant difference (P> 0.05) on variables studied. In LCC, the sex of the respondents was the only factor that showed significant difference (P< 0.05) on their views to governments‟ role on conservation. In ONP, educational level significantly (P< 0.05) affected peoples‟ attitude to mona monkey conservation. For the three locations, sex and age did not significantly (P> 0.05) affect the attitude of respondents towards mona monkeys‟ conservation, but educational level and locality significantly did (P< 0.05). Sex, age, educational level and locality had a significant effect (P< 0.05) on orientation of respondents about poaching. Records of illegal activities in ONP implies that creation of protected areas do not translate to successful wildlife protection. Education, awareness campaigns and involving the Park‟s immediate community members on the importance of, and conservation planning for wildlife and natural resources would help in reducing encroachment incidence, and promote conservation. The detailed knowledge of the feeding and nutritional ecology of mona monkeys will help understand how conservation efforts should be applied within the study sites. The study revealed that the ONP (wild habitat) with the highest number of wild foods is the most ideal location for the conservation of mona monkeys.