The blonde samangos of Cape Vidal were first brought to my attention when reading Thomas M Butynski and Yvonne A de Jong’s 2009 paper: Three Sykes's Monkey Cercopithecus mitis × Vervet Monkey Chlorocebus pygerythrus Hybrids in Kenya. While some scientists have suggested that these blonde samangos are samango monkey X vervet monkey hybrids, Butynski and de Jong suggest that they are more likely to be erythristic or partially albino. Given our research to date on the alliances formed by vervet monkeys and samango monkeys in the midlands, and noting this phenomenon elsewhere, the feasibility of hybridisation between these two intergeneric species that are remarkably different as far as the amount of chromosomes they have, their behaviour and the different ecological niches they inhabit is never far from my mind. It is important to note that in the unlikely event that hybridisation may occur between these species that are genetically distant, a hybrid would probably be infertile. However, such a phenomenon would offer valuable information about populations.
It is 2018, the 4th of January. Myself and assistant DB are leopard-crawling through mud while clinging vines and thorn branches obstruct our mission: that being to locate the identity behind the primate “pyow” vocalizations at the site of the vervet monkey sleeping tree at 6.30 am. “If only we could move through the trees the way they do”, DB says looking up into densely packed branches that stretch over forty metres high.