Mangabey satellite enclosure construction completed at Rhoko
Using grant funding from the International Primatological Society (IPS), we spent the first months of this year renovating the 3 enclosure and tunnel satellite system at Rhoko Forest. The satellites, situated adjacent to our main 1-hectare open-topped Red-capped managbey enclosure, are used to separate sick or old animals from the group to provide special care. Unfortunately, storms had severely damaged much of the existing structure leaving us with only one remaining usable section. Once repair work began, we quickly realised that the damage was even more extensive than we originally thought. Maintenance coordinator David Sunday spent many weeks in Rhoko to oversee the work, needed assistance from virtually all of the Rhoko staff and in the end the only thing we did not replace was the mesh!
In addition to facilitating the temporary removal of animals from the group for health reasons, the new system will allow us to separate a subset of the main group to prepare them for eventual release. Observational data taken over the years by research assistant Akposi and several volunteers has allowed us to identify 15 red-capped mangabeys from the population of 56 that will form the first group released into the surrounding protected community forest. Whilst the release is unlikely to occur this year, we are delighted that we are now fully prepared and can begin the process as soon as circumstances allow. Once again, we thank IPS for their support in making this possible.