Pennant’s Red Colobus Project

One of the World's most endangered primates...

Pennant’s red colobus is listed as critically endangered by the IUCN (2011). It has been repeatedly listed as one of the “World’s 25 most endangered primates” by Conservation International. It has never been kept successfully in captivity (maximum < 1 yr); consequently, there are currently no Pennant’s red colobus in recognized zoos or animal sanctuaries. The Bioko Island Pennant’s red colobus is one of seven monkey species found on Bioko Island. This species has a small documented natural range (< 250 km2) on the southwestern corner of the island, entirely within the borders of the Gran Caldera and Southern Highlands Scientific Reserve. Although national laws forbid hunting in protected areas, neither Pico Basile National Park in the northern part of Bioko Island nor the Gran Caldera and Southern Highlands Scientific Reserve has ever had any government protection.

Commercial hunting for a bushmeat market in the capital city of Malabo, located on the northern coast of Bioko Island, is the immediate cause of the decline in Bioko’s Pennant’s red colobus populations. Monitoring carcasses in the Malabo bushmeat market, ongoing by BBPP since 1997, continues to provide the numbers that inform conservation planning, including the evaluation of conservation strategies. The continuing BBPP presence in the marketplace is also a constant reminder to both buyers and sellers that trafficking in primate carcasses is illegal. The most effective supply side constraint on the primate bushmeat trade has been the deployment of BBPP forest wildlife patrols in the southwestern corner of Bioko Island, the same area that is now the only place left on Bioko Island where Pennant’s red colobus are still found.

In October 2011, BBPP received a grant from Wildlife Without Borders – Critically Endangered Species Conservation Fund to build on the momentum already created, encouraging the government of EG to finally enforce the ban on hunting primates. In April 2012, BBPP received a grant from the International Primatological Society to investigate the current distribution of Pennant's red colobus in the historical eastern extent of its range within the remote Ilyadi valley. Unfortunately, no evidence of red colobus was found during the surveys. Read more about the survey in BBPP researcher, Drew Cronin's manuscript, "Survey of Threatened Monkeys in the Iladyi River Valley Region, Southeastern Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea".

For more information please contact Dr. Drew Cronin (dtc33@drexel.edu)