Browse Preference of Colobus Monkeys (Colobus guereza) at Cotswold Wildlife Park

Callum Kirk, Mary Farrell, Hayley Mullaney, Tamara Montrose

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

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In the wild Black and White Colobus monkeys (Colobus guereza) have a wide and varied diet. They display specific food preferences and select young leaves and foodstuffs with a high protein to fibre content. They will also travel long distances to access browse with specific nutrients. The Colobus diet in captivity usually consists of vegetables along with leaf eater pellets which does not match the structure of their diet in the wild. Browse is also used to enrich the diet and stimulate natural foraging behaviours. The objective of this study was to identify the browse preference of the Colobus troop held at Cotswold Wildlife Park. Four commonly available species were used (Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), Birch (Betula pubescens), Lime (Tilia platyphyllos) and Bramble (Rubus fruticosus). The browse was presented in paired comparisons, and the Bradley-Terry method was used to analyse and rank this selection. The preference order for most of the study cohort was Hawthorn>Birch>Lime>Bramble and the number of visits and time spent feeding on the preferred browse was greater than for the non-preferred browse. While the predominant preference was for browse with low fibre content, which agreed with other studies in captivity, the second preference was for Birch, which had the highest fibre content. Furthermore, the top two preferences have a high carbohydrate and thus a high energy content. Therefore, preference may be related to the need for more energy in a colder climate for heat conservation. Alternatively, preference may be based on selection of younger leaves which contain a higher nutritional content, or preference for a species that is provided less regularly. Alternatively, their diet may supply all required dietary requirements so preference may be related to palatability. This knowledge of preference for browse type can be used when developing the dietary management of Colobus in captivity.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2016
EventBIAZA Conference 2016 - Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Doncaster, United Kingdom
Duration: 27 Jun 201628 Jun 2016


ConferenceBIAZA Conference 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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