The primate reserve is located 350km east of Nairobi and 240km north of Mombasa in Tana River district of coast province. The ecosystem consists of riparian forests, dry woodlands and savannah habitats on the east and west of the lower Tana River. The reserve was established to protect the Tana riverine forest and the two endangered primates, Mangabey and the red colobus monkey. The two primate species are the major wildlife attraction in the reserve. The ecosystem is also a stronghold for birdlife with over 200 species recorded in the area. These include the White-winged Apalis, African Open-bill Stork, Martial Eagle, Bat Hawk, African Pygmy-falcon, African Barred Owlet, Scaly Babbler, Black-bellied Glossy-starling, and the Golden Pipit.