Survey to establish vervet monkey distribution in urban areas of KZN

Submitted by: Tholakele Nene, Monday, June 3, 2013

<p>Through the vervet monkey survey Lindsay Patterson hopes to gain further insight into public opinion about vervet monkeys and understanding of urban wildlife (Image source: Lindsay Patterson).</p>

Through the vervet monkey survey Lindsay Patterson hopes to gain further insight into public opinion about vervet monkeys and understanding of urban wildlife (Image source: Lindsay Patterson).

Lindsay Patterson, an MSc student at the University of KwaZulu- Natal, Pietermaritzburg campus is conducting a survey on urban wildlife in suburban areas of KwaZulu- Natal (KZN) as part of her research on urban Vervet ecology. The aim of the research says Patterson, is to “gain deeper insight into public opinion, and understanding of urban wildlife”. The survey is part of a study of wildlife in urban areas. Animal ecology is a branch of biology that deals with the relationships organisms share with one another and their physical surroundings.

“As KZN’s urban development has increased, the natural environment has been disturbed; fragmenting wild spaces, shrinking habitats and opening up others and in turn altering natural diets, behaviours, foraging patterns and placing huge pressure on many species to adapt, move or die out. Many mammals and bird species are highly adaptable, but very little research has been done on their persistence in urban environments”, she explains.

The survey covers Durban, Pietermaritzburg and surrounding urban areas of KZN, stretching inland as far as Howick, down the South Coast as far as Amanzimtoti and up to Mthunzini in the North Coast. The survey is made up of a number of questions that cover residents knowledge of urban wildlife in their surroundings, and general knowledge about their area. 

It will run for the remainder of 2013 and the first half of 2014.

Be part of the move:

Patterson says that she has received a lot of positive feedback since the launch of the survey, particularly from conservancies and schools who are happy to contribute to the survey.

The study also invites residents who have Vervet monkey troops moving through their gardens and are willing to assist Patterson by keeping recorded counts of them in terms of troop numbers, number of adult females and number of young (non-breeding) Vervet monkeys each time you see them moving through your garden. Those who are interested in being involved in this study can contact Lindsay Patterson at lpatterson@earthtouchsa.com.

Go to the KZN urban wildlife survey page to complete the survey. 

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Tholakele Nene