LATIN NAMECercopithecus roloway
CONSERVATION STATUSCritically Endangered
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About the Roloway Monkey
Roloway monkeys are striking looking primates with a dark body, white chest, and throat area. They have a distinctive goat- like white beard and a white diadem (Browband). Their tails are longer than their body and their limbs are lean and muscular.
This arboreal Old-World primate spends most of its time in the canopy of undisturbed, mature rainforests. They have an extremely limited home range in Western Africa, only being found in Ghana and The Ivory Coast.
Found in social groups of 15-30 individuals, these groups are typically comprised of 1 male and up to 10 females and their young. As a diurnal primate, it sleeps at night and feeds during the day. They are omnivorous and will feed on fruit, insects, leaves and seeds. They can spend up to an hour foraging for insects in the canopy and possess cheek pouches to allow for the storage of food.
The Roloway species is extremely rare, even more so than any ape species. It is one of the most critically endangered primates in Africa and it has been placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List. The species has become very vulnerable to human activity which has been responsible for the destruction of much of its natural habitat. In the past 100 years, Ghana has lost 80% of its forested lands. The species has also suffered greatly from hunting due to the bush meat trade despite laws prohibiting the hunting of wildlife.
Did You Know?
Like other primates, Roloway Monkeys communicate vocally. Their warning calls are used to alert the group to the presence of a predator or another monkey troop. Roloway monkeys are preyed upon by leopards, chimpanzees, humans, and crowned hawk-eagles. Males may also call to reconnect the troop if they have strayed too far apart.
The Fota Connection.
Until its arrival in Fota in 2018, Roloway monkeys were not held in any zoological facility in Ireland, Northern Ireland or the UK and there are only 36 Roloway monkeys living in captivity worldwide. Fota Wildlife Park is home to females; Dapa, Sassandra and male, Valentino. Their Fota habitat includes a new state of the art lake-side monkey house which links them to a recently renovated island. The newly built house includes underfloor heating and transparent tunnels designed to facilitate and encourage movement out of their internal housing. This allows them to explore their habitat whilst offering great views of their surroundings including the nearby island which houses their neighbours, the Grey-cheeked mangabey monkeys.
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