Category Archives: Udzungwa Mountains

Videos from the field / Videos del bosque

Enjoy some videos of the life of a mangabey!

!Esperamos que os gusten estos videos sobre la vida diaria de los mangabeys!

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Bado amamantando a su cría.

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Acicalando al macho dominante

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Hora punta en la montaña.

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A éste juvenil de Sanje mangabey aún le falta aprender a compartir…

An Addition to the Team

The Sanje Mangabey Project would like to welcome a new member to the team. Karibu sana, Guillaume Pages!

Here are a few words from Guillaume:

And so, it is time for a change of the guards. David and Grainne are bidding their farewells to Tanzania, and it is with great excitement that I join them for their last month here; watching and learning how to navigate field research in Tanzania as if it was child’s play. My name is Guillaume Pages, I was born and raised in France in the fantastic city that is Lyon. I did most of my undergrad work in the UK, and worked for several years as a volunteer with wildlife research projects in Thailand, where I met my wife, Emily Lloyd (who will also start her research next month here in Tanzania). After which, I applied to pursue doctoral wok in the US. Fast-forward a few years and here I am. I am a colleague of Grainne at the University of Texas at San Antonio and I will start my own research sometime in September. Grainne and I share similar research interests, as we both seem to be fascinated by what monkeys put into their mouths. Part of my research is to collect data on the nutritional content of the food eaten by the Sanje mangabey, especially toxins, as well as looking at the physical barriers that the mangabeys encounter when eating (such hard shells and tough pulp). One of the many data I will collect will be the force required to open and or crush certain food items.

So far, David and Grainne have been great field mentors, and I have enjoyed my few forays in the forest. However, even they can’t control the weather, and last month was a thorough washout for me, a literal one at that, as the rains fell heavily in the Mwanihana forest. These rains had a nasty habit of starting just before we would wake up, and finish (suspiciously if you ask me) when we would get back to camp, with very little interruption in between. And so, I cursed the day the rain was born, as I was getting soaked to the marrow (that’s not just the bone we are talking about here) in the name of my PhD.

Until then,


Guillaume learning to identify the monkeys

Guillaume learning to identify the mangabeys.

Small gift causes big excitement!

The new soccer ball has been a huge success for Msalise Primary School. The students spent the days after our visit cleaning the soccer pitch for the upcoming game. They have started games among not only the boys but also the girls at the school. And the local team from the village has asked to come and play against the students and use the new ball! Mwalimu Churi is also organizing games against other schools in the area that do not have a soccer balls.

Who knew such a small token could make such a huge difference.

David takes on the students-1

David takes on the students in a game of football (soccer).

The new football is a big hit especially with the teachers-1

The ball is a big hit with everyone…even the teachers!

Visit to Msalise Primary School – Visita al Colegio de Primaria de Msalise

David and I traveled to Msalise Primary School on April 30th to deliver some books that were purchased with money donated from Canada and a soccer ball. It was a perilous journey as the road was like a river in many parts, with the water coming up past the bottom of the doors of the Land Cruiser! We feared we might be stuck half way there until the dry season, but luckily the 4-wheel drive managed to make it through the mud.

road to msalise 2-1

Much of the road was flooded and many people were forced to carry their bicycles through the massive puddles.

road to msalise 4-1

In fact, when we arrived at Msalise that morning, only three of the six teachers managed to make it to the school and that was only after wading through water up to their waists along the way.  As they had 500 students waiting for them, the teachers had to continuously rotate between the seven classes of 60+ students. At each class, the teachers helped the students get started on their lessons and were then forced to leave those students to learn on their own while they moved on to the next grade. Lack of teachers and lack of living quarters near the school for the teachers they have, are some of the biggest hurdles to a good education here in Tanzania. So, if any one would be interested in volunteering to teach primary school here, please do let us know. Mwalimu Churi, the head teacher, would be very grateful for the help!

While at Msalise, Mwalimu Churi, helped us to lead an activity where we asked the students from standard (grade) 6 and 7 to draw pictures of what they would like to do when they grow up and finish school. We were pleasantly surprised to find some future researchers amongst the group, along with teachers, farmers, bus drivers, pilots and of course, football (soccer) players!

Ally wants to work for the electric company-1

Ally wants to work for the electric company.

Shakila and Juma want to be artists

Shakila and Juma would like to be artists.

The new football is a big hit especially with the teachers

The new football was a big hit – especially with the teachers!

Here are some examples of the drawings (for more pictures and drawings click here to check out the web album):


I want to work for the electric company.


I want to be a farmer.

This student wants to be a researcher like Mr. Davidi (David)!

I want to be an artist and a researcher, like Mr. Davidi (evidently this is a portrait of David).


I want to be a nurse.


I want to be a teacher.


El pasado 30 de abril fuimos al Colegio de Primaria de Msalise para llevar unos libros que habían donado dos mujeres canadienses y un balón de fútbol que compramos para los estudiantes. Fue un viaje complicado, ya que el camino a Msalise estaba inundado en varias partes. El agua sobrepasaba los bajos del Land Cruiser que nos llevaba! En varias ocasiones temimos quedarnos estancados en el barro, pero afortunadamente, la tracción a las 4 ruedas funcionó a la perfección y nos sacó del fango.

Debido al estado del camino a Msalise, solamente 3 de los 6 profesores pudieron llegar ese día al colegio, aunque tan sólo tras atravesar lugares donde el agua les llegaba hasta la cintura. Y debido a que había unos 500 estudiantes esperándoles, los profesores se vieron obligados a rotar por las siete clases de la escuela, donde más de 60 estudiantes les esperaban impacientemente. En cada clase, los profesores ayudaban a los estudiantes a comenzar su tarea, para luego dejarles trabajar por sí solos mientras iban a la siguiente clase para supervisar a otro grupo de estudiantes. La falta de profesores, así como la falta de residencia para los mismos, es uno de los mayores obstáculos en la educación primaria y secundaria en Tanzania. Así que ya sabéis, si alguno de vosotros estáis interesados en ser voluntarios en un colegio, decídnoslo y si lo comunicaremos a Mwalimu Churi, director del Colegio de Primaria de Msalise. Estará encantado con la idea!

Durante nuestra visita, Mwalimu Churo nos ayudó a organizar una actividad con los alumnos de quinto y sexto curso. Les pedimos que dibujaran lo que les gustaría ser cuando crezcan y terminen el colegio. No sorprendió gratamente el ver a jóvenes estudiantes soñando llegar a ser profesores, granjeros, conductores de autobús, pilotos y, por supuesto, futbolistas. Aquí os dejamos varios de los dibujos.

A long journey for a favored food!

Though we are nearing the end of the wet season at Mizimu, it is still raining regularly. Most mornings we wake up to the sound of raindrops pelting the tarps over our tents. The good news is that the rain has allowed a favored food of the mangabeys to ripen, the fruit of Lettowianthus stellatus.

The mangabeys like this fruit so much that they leave their regular range in search of it. Risking encounters with other mangabey groups and less familiar terrain in order to enjoy its juicy pulp.

Female eating the fruit of Lettowianthus stellatus

Female eating Lettowianthus stellatus fruits.

The monkeys are pretty particular about L. stellatus. They will pop one whole fruit (similar in size and shape to a grape) in their mouths and then proceed to spit out the large seed found inside and the skin. The purple pulp and juice can then be seen trickling down their chins as they reach for another one. This fruit should be in season for another 4 weeks or so. Plenty of time for the group to get their fill!

Purple-mouthed mangabey that just finished a juicy fruit.

Mangabey after eating one of the juicy fruits.

Udzungwa Mountains in the news

Hi everybody,

We just found this article in the Daily News, a Tanzanian newspaper. The Unesco seems to be in the process of making the Uduzungwa Mountains National Park, where our group of Sanje mangabey lives, a World Heritage Site. If this actually materializes, it would be excellent news for the conservation of this endangered primate and other endemic species living in the Park!