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Putative white-naped mangabey (Cercocebus lunulatus) × olive baboon (Papio anubis) hybrids from Comoé National Park in Côte d’Ivoire

posted on 20.04.2022, 14:33 by Reiko Matsuda Goodwin, Anh Galat-Luong, Gérard Galat
We report the presence of at least one putative hybrid monkey, white-naped mangabey (Cercocebus lunulatus) × olive baboon (Papio anubis), at Comoé National Park (CNP) in north-eastern Côte d'Ivoire. C. lunulatus and P. anubis belong to two separate clades within the African Papionini (Papionina), which is known to display a complex pattern of evolutionary history involving ancient and recent hybridization. CNP is a bushy savanna-dominated protected area home to 12–13 primate species. Only about 9–11 % of the land cover is forest. C. lunulatus is an Endangered species while P. anubis is a Least Concern species. While conducting a reconnaissance survey on June 23, 2019, the first author observed and photographed a mangabey-baboon hybrid-like juvenile male monkey (2019A). At the same area where 2019A was photographed, a camera trap (CT) captured a video of a hybrid-like juvenile male monkey (2021B) on January 14, 2021, and another nearby CT captured a video of a slightly older hybrid-like juvenile male monkey (2021C) on May 23, 2021. Because there are reported cases of hybrids in captivity that occurred between the members of the two separate clades of the Papionini, the discovery of such intergeneric hybrids in the wild would not be surprising. We examine the idiosyncratic features of the putative hybrids and discuss the implication for conservation and future directions for research, considering the potential interacting factors that may lead to intergeneric hybridization. Specifically, to assess genetic population structure within C. lunulatus and P. anubis and to clarify the degree of gene flow among the two species, collecting biological matter from the putative hybrids, mangabeys, and baboons is necessary. Also, to elucidate the circumstances that might have stimulated hybridization, examining changes that might have occurred in the two species’ ecology and demography is essential.