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Focal Primates

WAPCA focuses on four species whose natural habitat

occurs in West Africa. 

White-naped Mangabey, Cercocebus lunulatus


The white-naped mangabey is a medium to large sized semi terrestrial monkey. A slender bodied animal, grey with a white undercarriage in colour and a distinctive white half moon patch on its crown.  It also has striking white eyelids and a dark dorsal strip.  
Its geographical range was once found West of the Sassandra River in Western Cote d'Ivoire to the Volta River in East Ghana.  It was also present in Southern Bukina Faso, however, now it is restricted to a small number of locations across its former range.

White-naped mangabeys live in large multi-male, multi female groups and have a variety of calls. Their diet is mainly made up of fruit, seeds and insects.  White-naped mangabeys are listed by IUCN as Endangered (A2cd) and have been in decline for 40 years due to habitat loss and poaching.

Roloway Monkey, Cercopithecus roloway


One of the most beautiful African primates is the Roloway monkey. Their skin is black on the face, hands and feet as is the hair on their head, belly and outer arms and legs. The inner limbs are white while the lower back becomes dark reddish. The long white beard and its yellow pubic region distinguish them from the Diana monkey.

Geographically they were located from the East of the Sassandra River to Western Ghana, however, nowadays it can only be found in Tanoé Forest in Cote d'Ivoire and Kwabre Forest in Ghana.

Roloways are arboreal primates and live in single male, multifemale groups of 15-25 individuals. Sometimes associated with other guenons. Their diet is mostly composed of fruits, insects and young leaves. Roloways are listed by the IUCN as Critically Endangered (A2cd).

Miss Waldron's Colobus, Procolobus waldroni


Miss Waldron's Colobus is an arboreal primate with a slim body structure and long limbs. They have two predominant colours in their pelage, black and a rich red-brown. The entire face and legs are red, but its back, tail and from shoulder to elbow outer side are black. 
Its geographical range once occurred from the South-Eastern part of Cote d'Ivoire to the South-Western part of Ghana.  In the 1990's the only evidence of this species survival came from swamp forests in a corner of South-Eastern Cote d'Ivoire. Nowadays it is considered extinct.
Miss Waldron's Colobus live in groups up to 80 individuals. Prefers using the upper canopy of the forest. and their diet is mainly leaves, but supplemented with fruits, seeds and flowers. The IUCN listed Miss Waldron's Colobus as Critically Endangered (A2cd; C2a(i); D) in 2000, since then, there have not been any reported wild sightings and is possibly extinct.

White-thighed Black & White Colobus, Colobus vellerosus

B_W colobus.jpg

This a large arboreal monkey with a predominantly black body and limbs, with a pure white tail.  White hair surrounds its black face and extends from below the chin up to the temples and in a band across the brow.  The thighs have silvery white patches on their outer surfaces and there is white hair on the margins of the ischial callosities.

The body length of adults from head to body of 60-70cms and a tail length of 75-90cms.  Males weight 8.5kgs on average, females 7kg.

The colobus has a distinctive loud roar like call and once occurred from somewhere between the Sassandra and Bandama rivers in Cote d’Ivoire eastwards through Ghana, Togo, Benin to the western edge of Nigeria.  It has now been heavily eradicated from these areas due to habitat loss and hunting.  The colobus would have once been

found in a variety of forest types ranging from moist forest near the coast, through semi-deciduous and dry forest zones to gallery forest in the woodland savanna zone.


Colobus are predominantly leaf eaters, with leaves making up 85-96% of their diet, supplemented with flowers and seeds.


This species is classified at Critically Endangered by IUCN (2021) Red List of Threatened Species.

Permission to use illustrations kindly given by the artist Stephen Nash

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