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|Common Name:||Diana monkey||Family:||Primate|
|Latin Name:||Cercopithecus diana||Diet:||Frugivore|
|Native To:||Africa||Social Unit:||Group|
|IUCN Red List Status:||Vulnerable|
Diana monkeys at Edinburgh Zoo
Diana monkeys first came to Edinburgh Zoo in 1974. Although the original animals are no longer with us, as they live between 20 and 25 years, we have second and third generations from that original group. It is hoped that we will obtain a new male for the group in the Monkey House in the near future and continue the breeding into a fourth generation.
Diana monkeys are part of a European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), in which all the animals in European zoos are managed by a coordinator and a species committee. The animals are listed in a studbook, (similar to a pedigree) and their genetic status is studied to ensure that unrelated animals are paired together. Edinburgh Zoo is the coordinator for the Diana monkey EEP and also holds the International studbook for the species.
Diana monkeys’ diet in the wild consists mainly of fruit and insects, with a lesser amount of seeds and flowers. Here in the Zoo, the diet is similar in that they receive a larger amount of fruit than the other forms of food. The food is spread out throughout the day in several feeds, which encourages them to move around searching for food rather than gorging on it in a single sitting.
Where it can be found at Edinburgh Zoo
Diana Monkeys in the wild
Diana monkeys (Cercopithecus diana) are found in the West African countries of Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. They prefer to inhabit primary rainforest and do not do well in disturbed or secondary forest, so the destruction of their habitat has a major effect on their future survival. Diana monkeys are diurnal (meaning they are active during the day), and rarely come down to the ground from the forest canopy. Groups typically include a single adult male and several females and their infants.
Diana monkeys are very vocal, and in the wild they have unique alarm calls for different types of predators. Researchers have found that Diana monkeys’ alarm calls are also useful to other animals in the forest! When Diana monkeys warn of a predator, other species such as the yellow-casqued hornbill listen and take appropriate action. Diana monkeys and Campbell’s monkeys have been found to associate with one another in the wild, and understand each other’s alarm vocalizations as well.
Diana monkeys are one of the most attractive monkeys in the Zoo, with black faces, short white beards, and white chests. Their coats are black and grizzled grey, with russet-red inner thighs and rump, and a long black tail. The males are larger than the females. They also have a white brow, from which they get their name. They were named after the Greek goddess Diana, the Archer. The curved white mark on the Diana monkey’s brow was thought to represent the shape of the goddess’ bow.
Diana monkeys’ numbers are decreasing in all of their ranges due to loss of habitat and hunting. As of 2008, they are listed as a Vulnerable species, which means that they are facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.
Breeding programme category: EEP
IUCN Red List category: Vulnerable
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