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|Sooty mangabey |
|White-collared Mangabey (C. atys lunulatus)|
|Sooty mangabey range|
The sooty mangabey (Cercocebus atys) is an Old World monkey found in forests from Senegal in a margin along the coast down to Ghana. While overall rated as Near Threatened, the eastern race lunulatus, also known as the white-crowned, white-naped, or white-collared mangabey (leading to confusion with the collared mangabey), is considered Endangered by the IUCN. The White-collared mangabey was declared its own species by the IUCN in 2016, but it retains the endangered conservation status.
The sooty mangabey is native to tropical West Africa, being found in Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast. It lives in both old growth and secondary forests as well as in flooded, dry, swamp, mangrove, and gallery forests. The primate is arboreal and diurnal. They are omnivores whose diet includes primarily fruits and seeds, sometimes feeding on small animals. They live in social groups of four to twelve individuals, but occasionally groups as large as 95 individuals have been recorded.
Sooty mangabeys are naturally infected with a strain of Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV), known as SIVsmm. Due to extensive human-mangabey contact in sub-Saharan Africa, SIVsmm has jumped from this species into humans on many occasions, resulting in HIV-2 virus. The HIV-1 strain by contrast came from the common chimpanzee strain of SIV.
The sooty mangabey is believed to be decreasing in numbers as its forest habitat is degraded, with trees being felled for firewood and timber, and it is hunted for food in some parts of its range. It is more terrestrial than some of its relatives and sometimes raids farms, which brings it into conflict with humans. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed its conservation status as "near-threatened".
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