CITES: Appendix II
(What is CITES?)
IUCN Red List: C. djamdjamensis: VU; C. aethiops, C. cynosuros, C. pygerythrus, C. sabaeus, C. tantalus: LC
(What is Red List?)
Key: VU = Vulnerable, LC = Least concern, LC = Least concern, LC = Least concern, LC = Least concern, LC = Least concern
(Click on species name to see IUCN Red List entry, including detailed status assessment information.)
Most of the African primates living in the dry forests of
including vervets, have wide geographical distributions and are not threatened
at this point (Oates 1996). All species of vervets except for Ch. djamdjamensis
are of least concern for going extinct in the near future, but despite this
classification, wherever vervets have been studied for long periods of time,
data reveals that populations are declining (Cheney et al. 1988; Isbell &
Enstam under review).
Threat: Harvesting (hunting/gathering)
Being geographically widespread and having abundant populations, vervets are
subject to hunting in areas where
bushmeat is locally important (Starin 1999).
They are also kept as pets because they are easily acquired; when hunters kill
adult vervets, they keep the dependent infants and sell them as pets (Peeters
et al. 2002). While the vervet population has not suffered up to this point,
there is concern that the rates of hunting of all primate species are not sustainable.
Compared to other monkeys their size, vervets are not commonly exploited for
hunting, but they are still under some pressure across their range (Bowen-Jones & Pendry
While the export of vervets from African countries should be closely monitored
by CITES, there is evidence that illegal export and trade of vervets and other
monkeys occurs and could be seriously affecting populations, especially in
countries like Gambia and Senegal (Starin 1999).
Vervets are among the few primate species that actually thrive when agriculture
replaces their natural habitat (Boulton et al. 1996). Because they have become
a nuisance species in many places where they interface with human agricultural
development, vervets have been treated as vermin and poisoned, shot, trapped,
and otherwise killed (Boulton 1996; Jones 1998). They have also been driven
out of some areas by being rounded up and killed. In these drives, thousands
of vervets are herded and killed for money and though they are not as widespread
as they once were, so-called "monkey drives" probably still occur in parts
of West Africa (Jones 1998; Starin 1999).
Threat: Changes in Native Species Dynamics
While vervets are not threatened with extinction, some populations are being
At Amboseli National Park, the vervet population has been declining rapidly
because of indirect human-induced habitat loss. As the human population surrounding
the park has grown, an attempt to separate the park from human areas through
fencing has caused the elephant population within the park to be confined.
Some 700 elephants are now restricted to the boundaries of the park and rather
than moving over huge distances, foraging as
they go, the elephants move continuously through the park, destroying saplings
and adult trees on which vervets depend for food and shelter (Cheney & Seyfarth
1990). The elephants have effectively destroyed the habitat of the vervets
by eliminating sleeping and foraging trees by rivers and watering holes that
are necessary for vervets to survive, and the population has continued to dwindle.
More than half of the vervet population at Amboseli has died and unless their
habitat is restored, they are likely to be completely eliminated from the park
(Cheney & Seyfarth 1990).
LINKS TO MORE ABOUT CONSERVATION
ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED IN Chlorocebus CONSERVATION
Content last modified: January 3, 2006
Written by Kristina Cawthon Lang. Reviewed by Karin Enstam.
Cite this page as:
Cawthon Lang KA. 2006 January 3. Primate Factsheets: Vervet (Chlorocebus) Conservation . <http://pin.primate.wisc.edu/factsheets/entry/vervet/cons>. Accessed 2015 February 28.