Habitat and Range of the Kipunji

The Kipunji is native to Tanzania and can be found living in the Rungwe-Livingstone forest and the Ndundulu forest. Its living range spans 70 square kilometers in the Rungwe-Livingstone forest and about three square kilometers in the Ndundulu forest. Habitat regions the animals thrives in are tropical and terrestrial. Their elevation range is from 1,300 to 2,450 m. The kipunji is a close relative of the baboon. Both males and females look similar. They have been know to live up to 45 years. The kipunji is a species of monkey that has been newly discovered in 2003.

The kipunji is very vocal and has a unique call that sounds like a honk and a bark. They use this honk-bark when they feel threatened. Twelve unique calls have been identified. This species of monkey has been listed as being critically endangered. Their population has been estimated at 500 to 1,000 in each forest. They carry diseases and often raid farm crops, posing a threat to humans. Some residents in the area hunt them for food. Their predators are the crowned eagles and leopards. Their diet consists of insects, leaves, wood, bark, stems, seeds, grains, nuts, fruit, flowers, bryophytes and lichens. 

The home range of each group of kipunji has been estimated at 0.24 and 0.99 square kilometers. These animals socialize in groups of 30 to 36 males and females. The males exhibit a head-shaking behavior before they flee. The kipunji is active during the day, with their activity being restricted to the trees, and they rarely come down to the ground. They are really shy of humans. It is the mother that is the primary caregiver of her young. The information on their reproductive behavior is very limited. The adult males can grow to 90 centimeters in length. This length does not include the tail. Their tails are longer than their bodies.

These monkeys face many threats that include habitat loss due to logging and charcoal production. They like to feed on maize, sweet potatoes and beans, and this causes the farmers to hunt them. Conservation measures are being taken to protect them in the Southern Highlands. Their tiny forest home spans less than 20 square miles. They are already on the brink of extinction. Because they are shy of humans some of their behaviors are hard to observe. The two forests where the kipunjis live are both isolated regions.