The Mona Monkeys of Grenada, São Tomé and Príncipe: Long-Term Persistence of a Guenon in Permanent Fragments and Implications for the Survival of Forest Primates in Protected Areas

  • Mary E. Glenn
  • Keith J. Bensen
Part of the Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects book series (DIPR)


Forest dwelling mona monkeys (Cercopithecus mona) were introduced to the Caribbean island of Grenada and the Gulf of Guinea islands of São Tomé and Príncipe 200–500 years ago and have remained isolated from their African mainland conspecifics for at least 200 years. All three island populations provide insight into the possible medium-term future of small populations of African forest guenons isolated in forest fragments due to deforestation and human hunting. The forest habitats on the three islands range in size from 5,000 to 25,000 ha. Genetic studies indicate that the Grenada population originated from potentially a single female and is a subset of the São Tomé population, which had a larger founding size. The Grenada population now numbers in the thousands, as do the populations on São Tomé and Príncipe. The Grenada monas appear to have suffered no inbreeding effects and may be an example of genetic purging, the process where deleterious phenotypes are weeded out of very small populations if they are allowed to rapidly rebound. Monas are ecological generalists and thus may have been conferred additional survival benefits on each island by their ability to take advantage of completely novel forest habitats. The Grenada monas, in particular, demonstrate that it may not be a lost cause to conserve very small populations of forest primate species in habitat fragments, if they can be immediately protected from further depredation and if the species has some ecological flexibility.


Forest Habitat Founding Population Caribbean Island Slave Trade Habitat Fragment 
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We would like to thank the governments and people of Grenada and São Tomé and Príncipe for allowing us to conduct this study and for being such gracious hosts. We also thank our primary field assistants Kevin Jensen, Pedro Laitao, Oscar Andall, and Heather Bruce for their patience and persistence in studying mona monkeys in the field, and Amy Remer for producing the map in Fig. 27.1. We are grateful for financial support from the National Geographic Society, the Yerkes Primate Research Center, The Rockefeller University, the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation, and AGRECO G.E.I.E., Belgium (under the auspices of the European Union’s Programa de Conservação e Utilização Racional dos Ecosistemas Florestais em Africa Central or ECOFAC).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyHumboldt State UniversityArcataUSA
  2. 2.Windward Islands Research and Education FoundationSt. George’sGrenada

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