Procolobus gordonorum


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Procolobus gordonorum
Species Authority: (Matschie, 1900)
Common Name/s:
English Udzungwa Red Colobus, Uhehe Red Colobus
Procolobus badius subspecies gordonorum (Matschie, 1900)
Taxonomic Notes: Red Colobus are sometimes included in the genus Piliocolobus (e.g., Kingdon 1997, Groves 2005). The current treatment follows Grubb et al. (2003) in regarding Piliocolobus as a subgenus of the genus Procolobus, pending the availability of further evidence. This species has been considered a subspecies of Procolobus badius, Procolobus pennantii, Procolobus rufomitratus, or Procolobus kirkii, but is here treated as a full species following Grubb et al. (2003) and Struhsaker et al. (in press).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(i,ii,iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor/s: Struhsaker, T, Butynski, T.M. & Ehardt, C.
Reviewer/s: Mittermeier, R.A. & Rylands, A.B. (Primate Red List Authority)
This species is listed as Endangered because it has an extent of occurrence of less than 5,000 km², the populations are highly fragmented with no or limited movement between forest fragments, and there is a continuing decline in the species' extent of occurrence and area of occupancy due to loss and degradation of habitat.
2000 Vulnerable
1996 Endangered
1996 Endangered
1996 Endangered (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
1994 Endangered (Groombridge 1994)
1990 Endangered (IUCN 1990)
1988 Endangered (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
1986 Endangered (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is restricted to the Udzungwa Mountains, including the Uduzngwa Mountains National Park and several adjacent forest reserves, namely West Kilombero, Matundu, Udzungwa Scarp, Nyanganje, Kiranzi-Kitungulu, and New Dabaga/Ulangambi (Struhsaker et al. in press). Also present in the Kilombero Valley at the eastern base of the Udzungwa Mountains in several forest patches (Magombera, Kiwanga, and Kalunga, the last mentioned of which is now essentially gone), and in gallery forest along the Msolwa River south of the railway to its confluence with the Kilombero River, including the Ibiki and Msitu ya Kinjugu Forests (Struhsaker et al. in press). It is found at elevations ranging from 250-2,200 m, although abundance is lowest at high elevations (Marshall et al. 2005; Struhsaker et al. in press).
Tanzania, United Republic of
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The total population of this species is unknown and difficult to determine, but clearly in the thousands. At least one published estimate puts the population at 15,400 individuals (Dinesen et al. 2001), but this might be too high. An earlier estimate by Rodgers and Homewood (1982) is 10,000 red colobus; however, they emphasized that the largest single interbreeding population is certainly <2,000 individuals. The Magombero forest in the Kilombero Valley appears to hold at least 1,000 individuals (Struhsaker 2005). In the Udzungwa Mountains, this was the most frequently seen primate (mean= 0.59 groups/km walked) (Rovero et al. 2006).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species inhabits a variety of forest habitats, including lowland old-growth, secondary and montane forests of the Udzungwa Mountains, and miombo Brachystegia woodland adjacent to old-growth or secondary forest in the lower parts of the Mwanihana forest and elsewhere (Struhsaker et al. in press). Group size, as recorded by Struhsaker et al. (2004), is highly variable, ranging from 7–83. Groups are smaller in forests that are small (<5 km²), dominated by deciduous trees, and/or are heavily degraded by human activities than are groups living in large, intact, and relatively mature blocks of moist, mixed evergreen and semi-deciduous forest (Struhsaker et al. 2004).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is threatened by habitat loss, due to logging, conversion to agriculture, collection of firewood, and charcoal production, and hunting. The population in Magombera, in the Kilombera Valley, was severely affected by the construction of the Tanzania-Zambia railway (in 1972-1975) which bisected the Magombero forest, as well as by selective logging and agricultural expansion. The presence of the railway facilitated agricultural encroachment onto the reserve, and increased the number of bush fires. Agriculture was responsible for a decline in reserve size from 15 km² in 1955 to less than 11 km² by 1979. The area was threatened with total destruction in 2002 when the Government of Tanzania agreed to relocate squatters there from the nearby Kilombero Sugar Estate. Fortunately, the international conservation community was alerted in enough time to launch an appeal to the Government of Tanzania that averted destruction of this forest, which contains >1,000 red colobus (Struhsaker 2005).

The local Wahehe people reportedly hunt P. gordonorum, particularly in the western and south-western parts of the range (Struhsaker et al. in press).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is listed as Class A under the African Convention, and under Appendix II of CITES. At present, only about half of the range of this species is protected within the Udzungwa Mountains National Park, and this population is reasonably secure. The remaining habitat is unprotected either on public land or in forest reserves (including New Dabaga/Ulangambi Forest Reserve) that are not effectively protected (e.g., Magombero Forest Reserve, which still needs to be legally incorporated into Selous Game Reserve, which the Government of Tanzania had promised to do in 1980). This species is nominally protected by law in Tanzania as ‘Presidential Game’, and enforcement of these laws is essential in areas where the species is hunted.

Struhsaker et al. (in press) highlight the following conservation priorities for this species:

1) annexation of the following Forest Reserves to the Udzungwa Mountains National Park: West Kilombero (including: Ndundulu, Nyumbanitu, Ukami, Iyondo), Udzungwa Scarp, Matundu, and Nyanganje;
2) annexation of the following forests to the Selous Game Reserve: Magombera, Ibiki, and all other forest remnants along the Msolwa River;
3) prevention of fire to allow forest expansion and establishment of corridors between forest blocks, thereby facilitating the dispersal and increase of forest-dependent species, including P. gordonorum;
4) and more effective law enforcement to prevent fires, illegal logging, and poaching.

Struhsaker et al. (2004, in press) outline recommendations for future research.

Bibliography [top]

Dinesen, L., Lehmberg, T., Rahner, M. C. and Fjeldsa, J. 2001. Conservation priorities for the forests of the Udzungwa Mountains, Tanzania, based on primates, duikers and birds. Biological Conservation 99: 223-236.

Groves, C. P. 2005. Order Primates. In: D. E. Wilson and D. M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World, pp. 111-184. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Grubb, P., Butynski, T. M., Oates, J. F., Bearder, S. K., Disotell, T. R., Groves, C. P. and Struhsaker, T. T. 2003. Assessment of the Diversity of African Primates. International Journal of Primatology 24(6): 1301-1357.

Kingdon, J. 1997. The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals. Academic Press Natural World, San Diego, California, USA.

Lee, P. C., Thornback, J. and Bennett, E. L. 1988. Threatened Primates of Africa: The IUCN Red Data Book. IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre (CMC), Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Marshall, A. R., Topp-Jørgensen, J. E., Brink, H. and Fanning, E. 2005. Monkey Abundance and Social Structure in Two High-Elevation Forest Reserves in the Udzungwa Mountains of Tanzania. International Journal of Primatology 26(1): 127-145.

Rodgers, W. A. and Homewood, K. M. 1982. Biological values and conservation prospects for the forests and primate populations of the Uzungwa Mountains, Tanzania. Biological Conservation 24: 285-304.

Rovero, F., Struhsaker, T., Marshall, A., Rinne, T., Pedersen, U., Butynski, T., Ehardt, C. and Mtui, A. 2006. Abundance of Diurnal Primates in Mwanihana Forest, Udzungwa Mountains, Tanzania. International Journal of Primatology 27(3): 675-697.

Struhsaker, T. S., Grubb, P. and Siex, K. S. In press. Procolobus gordonorum. In: T. Butynski, J. Kalena and J. Kingdon (eds), The Mammals of Africa, Academic Press, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Struhsaker, T. T. 2005. Conservation of Red Colobus and their Habitats. International Journal of Primatology 26(3): 525-538.

Struhsaker, T. T., Marshall, A. R., Detwiler, K., Siex, K. S., Ehardt, C., Dahl, D. L. and Butynski, T. M. 2004. Demographic variation in the Udzungwa red colobus (Procolobus gordonorum) in relation to gross ecological and socioecological parameters. International Journal of Primatology.

Citation: Struhsaker, T, Butynski, T.M. & Ehardt, C. 2008. Procolobus gordonorum. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <>. Downloaded on 20 April 2014.
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