They were first discovered by Powell in 1993 according to Oates. (1994) in the Niger Delta region. They have a close relatives; Preuss’s red colobus monkey (Procolobus preussi) found across Cameroon and Cross River state. The Preuss’s red colobus monkey is also listed as critically endangered species as listed by IUNC, and are found at the Oban division of Cross River national park, which extend to the adjacent Korup national park in Cameroon. The population of Preuss’s red colobus in Nigeria remains unknown according to Abanyan (2018), but they might have a bigger population in Cameroon, however, the population of Niger delta colobus is reported to be less than 100,000 in Nigeria according to Oates. (2011). Both Species are good indicator of healthy environment (Ikemeh, 2015), as their presence denote abundant of Trees with canopy.
Scientific name: Pilicolobus epieni (Groves, 2007
IUCN Status: Critically endangered as listed by IUNC 2008
Geographical location: Endemic in Nigeria and could be found in fresh water swamp forest western part of the Niger Delta region of Nigeria (Ikemeh, 2015)
Population: less than 100, 000
The Niger Delta colobus are reported to be highly mobile, travelling in groups during the day along the upper canopy of a Tree according to AWF. AWF report cited the crowned Eagle as the main predator of the species. A recent report in Nigeria, 2020, showed that the population of the species is less than 10,000 and is peg at 500 individuals species in Nigeria, according to mongabay
Hunted for meat, habitat loss and degradation; their habitat is mostly affected by oil spillage in the Delta and Uncontrolled cutting down of Trees as source of income for local dwellers
They are Folivore (leaf eaters: have preference for young leaves on reemergence tree), the animal prefer plants such as: Sapotaceae and Annonaceae (Butynski and Kingdom, 2013a). They also feed on fruits, flowers, and buds (Usongo and Amubode, 2001)
The Niger Delta Red colobus is critically endangered and they are among the most endangered primate in the world.
WHAT IF, THE ANIMAL GO INTO EXTINCTION?
Being a primate, and a folivore, the animal had being playing a crucial role in the environment, through is feeding pattern. feeding of leaves, will helps the Trees to grow healthier and avoid much litter in the environment, also, they are capable of seeds dispersal and an healthy growth of the forest.
Hence, the loss of the species, will not only deprive Nigeria an endemic species, found only in Nigeria (pride) but also, a great loss in our fight for Global warming.
Oates, J.F. (2001). The Niger Delta’s red colobus monkey: a new subspecies? Research Notes, African Wildlife Update. 3(2). 4.
Oates, J.F. (2011). Primates of West Africa: a Field Guide and Natural History, Conservation International, Arlington, VA.
Powell, C.B. (1993). Sites and Species of Conservation interest in the central Axis of the Niger Delta (Yenagoa, Sagbama, Ekeremor, and Southern Ijaw local government Areas). Reports, recommendations to Natural resources conservation council (NARESCON), Abuja, Nigeria
Usongo, L.I and Amubode, F.O. (2001). Nutritional Ecology Preuss’s red colobus monkey (Colobus badius preussi Rahm 1970) in Korup National Park, Cameroon. African Journal of ecology. 13(5):1194-1202
Butynski, T.M. and Kingdon, J. (2013). Precolobus preussi Preuss’s Red Colobus. In: T.M. Butynski, J. Kingdon and J. Kalina (ed.), the mammals of Africa. Volume II: Primates. Bloosbury publishing, London. Pp: 134-136
Abanyan, P.A. (2018). Distribution and the Conservation of the Preuss’s Red Colobus (Piliocolobus preussi) in Nigeria, NSCB Biodiversity conference; Uniuyo. Pp: 267-272