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BRIDGING THE GAP FOR VERVET MONKEYS

Courtney Maiden, EWT’s Wildlife and Transport Programme student, 64083152@mylifeunisaac.onmicrosoft.com

Gaps caused in the forest canopy cover from linear infrastructure, such as roads, force arboreal species to come down to the ground and face threats such as wildlife-vehicle collisions. Wildlife crossing structures, such as canopy bridges, have been installed in many countries to reduce the impact of roads and enhance habitat connectivity for tree-dwelling species. The Vervet Monkey (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) is one of the arboreal species subjected to daily vehicle collisions throughout South Africa.

In an attempt to reduce mortalities, EWT student Courtney Maiden is designing and testing Vervet Monkey-specific canopy bridges in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, with an end goal of installing wildlife-friendly bridges in roadkill hotspots across the country. By interrogating proposed designs and methodologies to establish a preferred Vervet Monkey crossing structure design, effective roadkill mitigation processes and species management plans can be established by integrating a simple yet potentially effective design to minimise wildlife-vehicle collisions, encourage habitat connectivity, and ensure the viability of Vervet Monkey populations. This work is being done in collaboration with the University of South Africa and the University of Wisconsin.