Sooty Mangabey, Cercocebus atys

The sooty mangabey (Cercocebus atys) is an Old World Monkey that can be found throughout the area stretching from Senegal to eastern Ghana. Its other common names include the white-naped mangabey, the white-crowned mangabey, and the white-collared mangabey, which causes some confusion with the collared mangabey. There are currently two recognized subspecies of this mangabey, although they can be considered distinct species.

The sooty mangabey resides in forests within its range, preferring a habitat in secondary forests or old growth, as well as swamp, mangrove, flooded, arid, or gallery forests. It is arboreal, spending most of its time in the tree tops, and is most active during the day. It forms groups of up to twelve individuals, although larger groups of up to 95 individuals have been noted. Its main diet consists of seeds and fruits, although it has been known to eat small mammals.

The sooty mangabeys are naturally plagued with a disease known as Simian Immunodeficiency Virus, or SIVsmm. Because humans have extensive contact with these mangabeys in their range, there have been many cases of SIVsmm in humans, resulting in the HIV-2 virus. The sooty mangabey is also capable of contracting leprosy. The sooty mangabey appears on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status of “Vulnerable”.

Image Caption: Cercocebus atys lunulatus. Credit: Year of the dragon/Wikipedia(CC BY-SA 3.0)