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Eastern black and white colobus monkey

Colobus guereza kikuyuensi

Eastern black and white colobus monkey

Black and white colobus monkeys are old world monkeys. This term describes monkeys from Africa and Asia.

These primates have distinctive black and white colouration with long white fur on the back and tail. Babies are born pure white and gradually change to their adult colour as they get older. It is not always the mother who carries her baby. In the wild, this gives the mother time to look for food offer younger members of the group the chance to practice at caring for a baby.

The word 'colobus' is a Greek word meaning 'mutilated'. This name refers to the fact that over time these monkeys have evolved and lost their thumb. This is often common amongst forest primates and is believed to allow the monkeys to travel more easily through tree branches.

Belfast Zoo holds the studbook for the European breeding programmes for this species.

Animal class

Forest and rainforest 

Diet - Herbivore
Colobus monkeys eat mainly leaves, fruit and flowers. They have a large stomach that contains special bacteria needed to break down the leaves in their diet. In the zoo they also eat a range of vegetables.

Black and white colobus monkeys measure up to 72 centimetres and their tails can measure a further one metre. They can weigh up to 14 kilograms.

Colobus monkeys are found in forest habitats and wooded grasslands in central Africa.

Conservation status
The IUCN feels that there is not enough sufficient evidence to determine if the Black and white colobus monkeys are in fact facing extinction.

Deforestation is a major threat to the black and white colobus monkey. They are also hunted excessively for their beautiful fur and skin.

Current population
Black and white colobus monkeys are in decline throughout the world. In protected parts of their range within Africa they are abundant.

Zoo population
There are 190 of these primates living in zoos worldwide.