Piliocolobus epieni 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Primates Cercopithecidae

Scientific Name: Piliocolobus epieni (Grubb & Powell, 1999)
Common Name(s):
English Niger Delta Red Colobus
French Colobe epien
Spanish Colobo Rojo del Niger
Procolobus badius ssp. epieni Grubb & Powell, 1999
Procolobus pennantii ssp. epieni Grubb & Powell, 1999
Taxonomic Source(s): Mittermeier, R.A., Rylands, A.B. and Wilson D.E. 2013. Handbook of the Mammals of the World: Volume 3 Primates. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
Taxonomic Notes: Modern taxonomic arrangements of the colobus monkeys either divide the red colobus and the Olive Colobus into two genera,  Piliocolobus  and Procolobus, respectively (e.g., Kingdon 1997, Groves 2005), or consider them to belong to one genus, Procolobus, with two subgenera (Procolobus for the Olive Colobus and Piliocolubus for the red colobus) (Grubb et al. 2003 [followed in the 2008 IUCN Red List], Grubb et al. 2013). The arrangement of using two separate genera in Groves (2001, 2005, 2007) is followed here.

This taxon was formerly a subspecies of a wider concept of P. pennantii which included bouvieri, epieni and pennantii as subspecies. The subspecies are now treated as distinct species following Groves (2007). The study by Ting (2008) on vocalizations and mitochondrial DNA confirmed that P. epieni is not closely related to its closets geographic relatives (P. pennantii and P. preussii). This taxon has also been treated as a subspecies of Procolobus badius in the past.

This is an updated assessment to reflect the change in genus name, the promotion of the subspecies to species-level and the inclusion of information previously contained within the former species-level assessment.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered A2cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2008-07-01
Assessor(s): Oates, J.F. & Struhsaker, T.
Reviewer(s): Mittermeier, R.A. & Rylands, A.B. (Primate Red List Authority)
Listed as Critically Endangered as this species is estimated to have undergone a decline of more than 80% over the past three generations (ca. 30 years) due to heavy hunting impact across its limited range in the Niger Delta, compounded by habitat degradation.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Piliocolobus epieni is present between the Forcados-Nikrogha Creek and the Sagbama-Osiama-Agboi Creek in the marsh forest of the Niger Delta, Nigeria (Grubb and Powell 1999, Werre 2000).
Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):10
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Piliocolobus epieni was discovered only in 1993, and was then quite common within its limited range in the mid-1990s (Werre and Powell 1997), but recent reports suggest rapid declines as a result of habitat degradation and hunting (Grubb and Powell 1999; L. Werre pers. comm.).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It is a largely arboreal species found in lowland and mid-montane tropical moist forest, and marsh forest.
Generation Length (years):10

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The major threats to this species are hunting and habitat degradation. Artisanal-scale logging has seriously degraded the habitat of P. p. epieni, removing many important red colobus food trees, such as Hallea ledermannii (Werre and Powell 1997, Grubb and Powell 1999).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This taxon is listed on Appendix II of CITES and on Class B of the African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. 

Piliocolobus epieni is not represented in any protected areas, although a forest reserve, Apoi Creek, near Gbanraun had been proposed. Protection of the remaining habitat of this taxon is an urgent priority.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
1. Forest -> 1.8. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Swamp
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:No
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.2. Small-holder farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.3. Agro-industry farming
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.3. Unintentional effects: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Butynski, T.M., Grubb, P. and J. Kingdon. 2013. Procolobus pennantii Pennant's Red Colobus. In: T.M. Butynski, J. Kingdon and J. Kalina (eds), The Mammals of Africa. Volume II: Primates, pp. 137-141. Bloomsbury Publishing, London.

Groves C. 2001. Primate Taxonomy. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

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.

Groves, C.P. 2007. The taxonomic diversity of the Colobinae of Africa. Journal of Anthropological Sciences 85: 7-34.

Grubb, P. and Powell, C.B. 1999. Discovery of red colobus monkeys (Procolobus badius) in the Niger delta with the description of a new and geographically isolated subspecies. Journal of Zoology (London) 248: 67-73.

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.

Grubb, P., Oates, J.F., White, L.J.T. and Tooze, Z. 2000. Monkeys recently added to the Nigerian faunal list. The Nigerian Field 65: 149-158.

Grubb, P., Struhsaker, T.T. and Siex, K.S. 2013. Subgenus Piliocolobus Red Colobus Monkeys. In: T.M. Butynski, J. Kingdon and J. Kalina (eds), The Mammals of Africa. Volume II: Primates, pp. 125–128. Bloomsbury Publishing, London.

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-1. Available at: (Accessed: 30 June 2016).

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

Ting, N. 2008. Molecular systematics of red colobus monkeys (Procolobus [Piliocolobus]): understanding the evolution of an endangered primate. PhD thesis, City University of New York, New York.

Werre, J.L.R. 2000. Ecology and Behavior of the Niger Delta Red Colobus Monkey (Procolobus badius epieni). Ph.D. Thesis, City University of New York.

Werre, J.L.R. and Powell, C.B. 1997. The Niger Delta colobus - discovered in 1993 and now in danger of extinction. Oryx 31: 7-9.

Citation: Oates, J.F. & Struhsaker, T. 2016. Piliocolobus epieni. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41024A92655748. . Downloaded on 21 June 2018.
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