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Constraints on population growth of blue monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis) in Kibale National Park, Uganda

In: Behaviour
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  • 1 Department of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA
  • | 2 Division of Solid Tumor Oncology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA
  • | 3 Department of Primatology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany
  • | 4 Makerere University Biological Field Stations, Kampala, Uganda
  • | 5 School of Agriculture and Environmental Science, Mountains of the Moon University, Fort Portal, Uganda
  • | 6 Department for the Ecology of Animal Societies, Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, Konstanz, Germany
  • | 7 Department of Biology, University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany
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Abstract

Changes in population size are driven by environmental and social factors. In spite of repeated efforts to identify the constraints on an unusually low-density population of blue monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis), it remains unclear why this generalist species fails to thrive in Kibale National Park in Uganda. While an unidentified disease may occasionally obstruct conception, it does not seem to limit overall reproductive rates. Infanticide at this site is infrequent due to the long tenures of resident males. Our analyses indicate that the single biggest constraint on blue monkey densities may be feeding competition with grey-cheeked mangabeys (Lophocebus albigena): across Kibale, the densities of these two species are strongly and negatively correlated. Though further analysis is needed to understand the timing and strength of feeding competition between them, we conclude that blue monkeys at Ngogo experience competitive exclusion from grey-cheeked mangabeys, possibly resolving the 50-year mystery surrounding this population.

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