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Range extension, imminent threats and conservation options for two endangered primates: The Tana River Red Colobus Procolobus rufomitratus rufomitratus (Peters, 1879) and the Tana River Mangabey Cercocebus galeritus (Peters, 1879) in the Lower Tana Floodplain and Delta, Kenya

Hamerlynck O., Luke Q., Nyange T.M., Duvail S., Leauthaud C.. 2012. African Primates, 7 (2) : p. 211-217.

Two Endangered primate taxa, the Tana River red colobus (population estimate less than 1200) and the Tana River mangabey (population estimate less than 2000), are only known from a restricted area of patchy riverine forest in the floodplain of the Lower Tana River in Kenya. This paper describes the discovery of several groups of both species further south, in the Tana Delta, which for the Tana River red colobus represents a marginal extension of its range, and for the Tana River mangabey a substantial extension of the known range. Both the extent and the quality of their previously known habitat continue to decline and the newly discovered sites are under severe threat from forest over-exploitation, attempts to redirect the river course away from the forest patches, expansion of large-scale irrigation both locally and upstream for food and for biofuel production which may affect river flows, and especially by the planned construction of a very large hydropower dam several hundred km upstream at Grand Falls. This sixth dam in the Tana River cascade may put an end to the natural flooding regime that has sustained the riverine forest where the primates reside. In fact, unless the new dam is designed and used to produce large managed flood releases that mimic the natural flooding regime, the entire high biodiversity floodplain and delta, its ecosystems, and the livelihoods dependent on them are in jeopardy. Locally, there is a need to come up with a common vision for the future of the delta and to implement proposed conservation measures.

Mots-clés : kenya

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