The sun-tailed monkey, known by the scientific name Cercopithecus Solatus, is native to central forests in Gabon and they can be found in no other locations in the world. Discovered in 1986 the sun tailed monkey is listed as a vulnerable species. They have been protected since 1994, as is the forested area they inhabit. There are concerns about their long-term survival due to recent logging activities as well as human encroachment. The fact they are endemic to Gabon means any loss of habit could be disastrous for these animals. The sun tailed monkey is active during the day when they spend most of their time wandering the forest floors. At night they retreat to the trees for safety while sleeping.
Sun tailed monkeys’ diets consist mainly of fruits, seeds, plants, insects, and small vertebrates. Small pouches in their cheeks allow them to store food when foraging. The evergreen forests they occupy are very moist providing an abundant source of foods. As the monkeys consume fruit they will deposit seeds in their waste helping to spread new plants. The moist forested area contains many insects which is a valued source of food for them. They will catch and eat small vertebrate that run along the forest floors on occasion. This is not a main source of nutrients for them however. While their diet is very diverse they primarily choose to eat on insects and grasses.
Like most monkey,s these animals are social and stay in groups for protection. They are territorial and males will aggressively defend any potential threats to their dominance. A group typically consists of around 17, dominated by one male and numerous females. The region they are most commonly found has numerous rivers and think canopies. Sun tailed monkeys seem to prefer shaded area with dense underbrush. This offers protection while greatly increasing the food available.
Human encroachment has been kept to a minimum due to actions by the Gabon government. Many national parks have been established to ensure that the delicate ecosystems and the animals that inhabitant them can survive. The remoteness of the area and the difficult terrain has also helped keep people away. As some regions have been opened up to loggers, there is concern over these animals becoming victim to hunters as well as losing habitat. So far populations appear stable. As scientists learn more, they have discovered the sun tailed monkey has a larger range of distribution as they once thought. While there is concern for the long-term stability of these animals, so far Gabon has been able to protect their most critical range.