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Habitat Use by White-Thighed Colobus in the Kikélé Sacred Forest: Activity Budget, Feeding Ecology and Selection of Sleeping Trees
Abstract and Figures
Understanding habitat preference and use is an important aspect of primate ecology, and is essential for setting conservation strategies. This study examined the activity budget, feeding ecology and selection of sleeping trees of a population of white-thighed colobus (Colobus vellerosus). A group of 18 was followed during 72 days over a full annual cycle in the Kikélé Sacred Forest of the Bassila administrative region in central Benin (West Africa). Activity budget and diet were determined using scan sampling. The structure of the habitat and the physical characteristics of sleeping trees were determined using plot surveys. Resting, feeding, moving, social interactions and other activities accounted for 56.6%, 26.3%, 13.0%, 3.3%, and 0.7% of the activity budget, respectively. The group spent more time feeding and less time moving in the dry season compared to the rainy season. The diet was composed of 35 plant species belonging to 16 families, with items including leaves, fruits, seeds, buds, bark, flowers, gum, and inflorescences. Only three tree species were used as sleeping trees: Celtis integrifolia, Cola cordifolia, and Holoptelea grandis. Our findings suggest that the monkeys prefer tall (22.53 ± SD 3.76 m) and large-trunked (112.07 ± SD 14.23 cm) sleeping trees. The results of this study can be used for sound management of the white-thighed colobus in the study area and elsewhere.
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