International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 831–844 | Cite as

The barbados vervet monkey (Cercopithecus aethiops sabaens): Changes in population size and crop damage, 1980–1994

  • A. M. Boulton
  • J. A. Horrocks
  • Jean Baulu


We investigated changes in population size and crop damage for the vervet monkey (Cercopithecus aethiops sabaeus) in Barbados over the period 1980–1994. In both 1980 and 1994, we obtained data primarily via a survey of farmers islandwide to obtain estimates of group size and number of groups on agricultural land. We assessed the farmers’ estimates independently for reliability by counting number of groups and group size on a subsample of farms. We surveyed approximately 20% of the total land area in Barbados and extrapolated the results to the whole island. The estimate of population size of monkeys in 1994 is 4% greater than for 1980, but the difference is not statistically significant. This suggests that, despite the removal of over 10,000 vervets via humane trapping and through hunting over the 14-year period, population size has remained the same. Over the same time period, the percentage of crops damaged by vervets was reported by farmers to have increased almost 30%. The increase in crop damage relative to the increase in vervet abundance may best be explained by a decrease in the availability of crops to vervets, since substantial amounts of agricultural land were taken out of crop production between 1980 and 1994.

Key words

Cercopithecus aethiops sabaeus survey methodologies population changes crop damage 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Agristat (1980). Agricultural Planning Unit, Ministry of Agriculture, Barbados.Google Scholar
  2. Agristat (1994). Agricultural Planning Unit, Ministry of Agriculture, Barbados.Google Scholar
  3. Baulu, J. (1994). Non-human primates as a renewable natural research resource: Fact or fiction? Paper presented at 15th Congr. Int. Primatol. Soc. Bali, Aug.Google Scholar
  4. Biquand, S., Boug, A., Biquand-Guyot, V., and Gaultier, J. (1994). Management of commensal baboons in Saudi Arabia.Rev. Ecologie 49: 213–222.Google Scholar
  5. Brennan, E. J., Else, J. G., and Altmann, J. (1985). Ecology and behaviour of a pest primate: vervet monkeys in a tourist-lodge habitat.Afr. J. Ecol., 23: 35–44.Google Scholar
  6. Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (1982).Monkey Crop Damage Control in Barbados, Report to the Caribbean Development Bank, Bridgetown, Barbados.Google Scholar
  7. Fedigan, L., and Fedigan, L. M. (1988).Cercopithecus aethiops: A review of field studies. In Gautier-Hion, A., Bourliere, F., Gautier, J.-P., and Kingdon, J. (eds.),A Primate Radiation: Evolutionary Biology of the African Guenons, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  8. Horrocks, J. A. (1984).Aspects of the Behavioural Ecology of Cercopithecus aethiops sabaeus in Barbados, West Indies, Ph.D. thesis, University of the West Indies, Barbados.Google Scholar
  9. Horrocks, J. A. (1986). Life history characteristics of a free-living population of vervets(Cercopithecus aethiops sabaeus) in Barbados, West Indies.Int. J. Primatol. 7:31–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Horrocks, J. A., and Baulu, J. (1988). Effects of trapping on the vervet(Cercopithecus aethiops sabaeus) population in Barbados.Am. J. Primatol. 15: 223–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Horrocks, J. A. and Baulu, J. (1994). Food competition between vervets(Cercopithecus aethiops sabaeus) and farmers in Barbados: implications for management.Rev. Ecologie 49: 281–294.Google Scholar
  12. Horrocks, J. A., and Hunte, W. (1993). Interactions between juveniles and adult males in vervets: Implications for adult male turnover. In Pereira, M. E. and Fairbanks, L. A. (eds.),Juvenile Primates, Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  13. Kavanagh, M. (1980). Invasion of the forest by an African savannah monkey: Behavioural adaptations.Behaviour 73: 238–260.Google Scholar
  14. Pooley, A. C. (1968). A short note on the diet of the vervet monkeyCercopithecus aethiops sabaeus in Zululand.Lammergeyer 9: 29–31.Google Scholar
  15. Richardson, K.S. (1988).Space Use by Vervet Monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops) and Its Consequences for the Genetic Structure of the Barbados Population, M.Sc. thesis, McGill University, Montreal.Google Scholar
  16. Struhsaker, T. T. (1967). Ecology of vervet monkeys(Cercopithecus aethiops) in the Masai-Amboseli game reserve, Kenya.Ecology 48: 891–904.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Strum, S. C. (1994). Prospects for the management of primate pests.Rev. Ecol. 49: 295–306.Google Scholar
  18. Vermeer, L. A. (1993).The Stability of Matrilineal Dominance Hierarchies in Vervet Monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops sabaeus), M.Sc. thesis, McGill University, Montreal.Google Scholar
  19. Watts, D. (1963).Plant Introductions and Landscape Change in Barbados 1625–1830, Ph.D. thesis, McGill University, Montreal.Google Scholar
  20. Zar, J. H. (1984).Biostatistical Analysis, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. M. Boulton
    • 1
  • J. A. Horrocks
    • 1
  • Jean Baulu
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of the West IndiesBarbadosWest Indies
  2. 2.Barbados Primate Research Centre and Wildlife ReserveBarbadosWest Indies

Personalised recommendations