Distribution patterns of gastrointestinal parasites in vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) at Gombe national park, Tanzania


  • Jared Bakuza Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, Dar es Salaam University College of Education, P. O. Box 2329 Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania


Vervet monkeys at Gombe National Park in western Tanzania constitute a key component of the park ' s ecosystem through interactions with other animals and people in the area. However, the parasite fauna of these animals has not been investigated.  Thus,  21  faecal  samples obtained from the animals in September 2010  were  examined for parasites using formol-ethyl technique. The parasites observed included Trichuris spp., Physaloptera spp., hookworms and unidentified nematodes.  While egg counts for unidentified nematodes did not vary with vervet monkey communities (z = 0.759, p = 0.448), other parasites  were  significantly higher among vervets at north of the park near Mwamgongo village compared to those at southern park border close to Mtanga village  (Trichuris spp.: z = 2.443, p = 0.0146; Hookworms: z = 2.084, p = 0.0371). This is the first  baseline  study on vervet monkey parasites at Gombe and it broadens  our understanding of the animals ' ecology and health.  The  observed  parasites namely  Trichuris and hookworms are  also  common in human populations in the area, and this suggests a potential  health risk given the existing animal-human interactions. This stresses the need to better understand how  these  findings may relate to wildlife conservation and public health in the area

Key words:  Vervet monkeys, Gombe ecosystem, parasites