The Samango monkey is South Africa’s only exclusively forest dwelling monkey. The endangered subspecies Cercopithecus mitis labiatus occurs in Afromontane forests. These irreplaceable forests, found on moist southern slopes from the Cape to Limpopo, comprise just 0.4 % of South Africa. They are fragmented and vulnerable due to degradation and increased demand for forest resources.
Samango monkeys spend most of their time in in the forest canopy, eating fruit, leaves, insects, seeds, flowers and fungi, actively defending their home range of about 17ha. They eat a variety of plants but concentrate on a few species, which means their population density is dependent on plant species richness and diversity.
They stand about 50cm at shoulder height and weigh between 5-8 kgs. Troops average about 14 individuals, occasionally as many as 34, usually with only one adult male. Young are born during summer after a five month pregnancy; they become independent at two months but continue to nurse for around two years. Adults can live for up to 30 years.
Communication is through a variety of body movements and calls – clicking, booming and growling. Females and youngsters squeal loudly when threatened.