Animals & Attractions

Diana monkeys first came to Edinburgh Zoo in 1974. Although the original animals are no longer with us, we currently have a young pair, the male of which was born here and we are hoping will form a breeding pair.

Location in the zoo

Our Diana monkeys can be found in the Monkey House.

Breeding Programme Category

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.


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 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 have 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.
Diana Monkey - Main Panel

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