The golden monkey (Cercopithecus kandti) is a species of Old World monkey found in the Virunga volcanic mountains of Central Africa, including four national parks: Mgahinga, in south-west Uganda; Volcanoes, in north-west Rwanda; and Virunga and Kahuzi-Biéga, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. It is restricted to highland forest, especially near bamboo. The golden monkey have a golden-orange patch on the upper flanks and back.
It lives in social groups of up to 30 individuals. Its diet consists mainly of bamboo, leaves and fruit, though it is also thought to eat insects.
Due to the gradual destruction of their habitat and recent wars in their limited habitat, the golden monkey is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List.
Distribution and habitat
Due to its diet the golden monkey prefers a habitat with abundant fruit and bamboo and moves between areas depending on the season. During the season where ripe fruit is available they remain in those areas. With the beginning of the rainy season the golden monkeys move to habitats where bamboo is shooting. The golden monkeys are most frequently seen in bamboo forests, suggesting that the species prefers this habitat. However, if there is an area consisting of mixed fruit and bamboo, it tend to frequent that area more.
Behavior and ecology
The golden monkey can travel in various group sizes, and have been seen in small groups of three up to large groups of 60 monkeys. The groups that are found at higher elevations tend to be smaller. It will often return to one of several different sleeping areas after a day of feeding. The monkeys often sleep in small subgroups of four, at the top of bamboo plants. They will often use a dense bamboo plant, or a combination of several bamboo plants that weave together to make a sufficient foundation for sleep. The golden monkey will often feed near the sleeping area and return to this same sleeping location day after day.