Golden monkeys are primate species that are listed as endangered species, like mountain gorillas, chimpanzees and golden monkeys. These endangered species of golden monkeys can only be viewed can in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mgahinga Gorilla national park in south western, volcanoes national park and Virunga national park respectively.
golden monkey is scientifically known as Cercopithecus mitis kandti. Golden monkeys are considered an endangered species as they only live in the Virungas and come to about 4000 animals in total.
Origin of the name
Golden monkeys are named after their beautiful looks. Because their hairs on the skin are golden brown which makes the trekking adventure awesome since they can be spotted easily. With golden-orange patch straight from their long tail to its back and cheeks and some darker patches on the legs, arms and face giving them a weird but captivating look from the other primate animals in the wild.
Golden monkeys are herbivores. They are anatomically and physiologically wired to feed on plant materials, they are known for eating about 20 to 30 types of plants and an occasional insect (invertebrates) found on leaves. They are most commonly known for feeding on bamboo leaves especially in the rainy season. When wild fruits are in season, golden monkeys will eat lots of fruits but will divert back to the always available bamboo once the season is over.
Golden monkeys have polygynous relationships. The male monkey in the group mates with all the females. Interesting fact; the females are the initiators of this mating ritual which is quite progressive. The gestation period takes five months and the youngling (infant) is born with fur and eyes wide open. The mother takes care of the baby for about two years before it is given any freedom. Freedom to go out into the wild, join new monkey groups, form their own packs. However, it is still classified as an endangered species as the only free wild is confined only in the Virungas. Golden monkeys can live up to 19 years. The male monkey’s range between 48 and 67cm and females 46 to 53 cm, rendering them slightly smaller. The males can weigh approximately 4.5 to 7 kgs while the females go up to about 3.5 to 4.5 kgs.
They are endemic animals. Being endemic means that they are confined to a specific area. They live in areas with lots of fruit and bamboo, trekking in between the rainy and sunny seasons. During the rainy season, the bamboo is up, and about which is favorable for the golden monkeys to create homes, near a source of the abundant food supply. In the dry season with less bamboo, some of them move on to the rest of the mountains in search of fruits and other edible plants.
Golden monkeys are social animals that live in groups of 30 to 80 individuals. The male golden monkey is the head of the group and has the authority to mate with all the females in the group. These groups vary in sizes according to the altitudes of their habitats. Most of the golden monkeys in higher altitude areas live in smaller groups compared to their counterparts in lower altitude. Females are responsible for ensuring the safety of their territories and their offspring until they are old enough (and the for males to be out there on their own).
Golden monkeys love comfort-ability and sleep in groups of four in thick bamboo areas that provide enough shelter to sleep during the night. Golden monkeys are generally very playful (even by monkey standards) and they are a joy to look at. Most people who come to Uganda to track golden monkeys usually bundle it up with a wildlife and gorilla trekking safari.