Colobus satanas 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Primates Cercopithecidae

Scientific Name: Colobus satanas Waterhouse, 1838
Infra-specific Taxa Assessed:
Common Name(s):
English Black Colobus
French Colobe noir
Spanish Colobo Negro
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: Grubb et al. (2003) list two subspecies: C. s. satanas from Bioko, and C. s. anthracinus from the mainland.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Oates, J.F., Kingdon, J., Groves, C.P. & Brugiere, D.
Reviewer(s): Mittermeier, R.A. & Rylands, A.B. (Primate Red List Authority)
Listed as Vulnerable as there is reason to believe this species has declined by well over 30% over the past 30 years (three generations) largely due to habitat loss and hunting pressures.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is found from Cameroon (south of the Sanaga River), through Equatorial Guinea, western and central Gabon inland to Lope National Park (Brugiere 1998) (and with unconfirmed reports of sparse populations east of the Ogooue and Ivindo Rivers), parts of Congo, and on Bioko Island. This species is now rare or absent in those parts of its range where there has been extensive logging. In mainland Equatorial Guinea, for example, its range had been reduced to one-third of its former size by 1967. It is thought to occur from 500-2250 m asl.

There are two subspecies: C. s. satanas is found only on Bioko Island (Equatorial Guinea), while C. s. anthracinus is found in Cameroon south of the Sanaga River, Equatorial Guinea, Congo and Gabon.
Countries occurrence:
Cameroon; Congo; Equatorial Guinea (Bioko); Gabon
Additional data:
Lower elevation limit (metres):500
Upper elevation limit (metres):2250
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There are no estimates of the total population of this species, but it is known to live at low densities. It is thought to have a patchy distribution in parts of its range. The highest density populations are thought to be in Lope Reserve, Gabon, where there is a population of approximately 50,000 - 55,900 individuals (Brugiere 1998), in the Foret des Abeilles (central Gabon) where the population density is 25-30 animals/km², and in the Douala-Edea Reserve (Cameroon), where the density was estimated to be 38 animals/km² in 1978.

On Bioko, this species has undergone the biggest decline of all the primates -- more than 60% between the period 1986 and 2006 (Hearn et al. 2006). They were common species on Pico Basile in 1986, but have been heavily hunted in the Pico Basile National Park in the 2000s. They are now rare outside the Gran Caldera.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species inhabits coastal evergreen, lowland moist, montane, and swamp forests. It is typically found high in the canopy of dense, primary rainforest, and is now only present in protected or undisturbed inaccessible areas. On Bioko, it has been observed on the montane heathland. It appears unable to survive in secondary forest, and is rare or absent in forests where logging has reduced canopy height. C. satanas is a highly arboreal, diurnal species. It feeds selectively on seeds and unripe fruits, and shows a strong preference for the leaves of lianas. Old leaves are less favoured, and only in sand-dune forest are they eaten with regularity. This species lives in groups averaging 15 individuals, and has an annual home range of approximately 60 ha.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is threatened by habitat loss due to logging and forest clearance for agriculture. Its dependence on high-canopy habitats make it particularly susceptible to tree felling (Brugiere 1998). This species is also widely hunted for its meat and skin, with the populations on Bioko being under considerable pressure (Hearn et al. 2006).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on Appendix II of CITES, and as Class B under the African Convention. This species needs effective protection against hunting, and its habitat must be protected. In Gabon, it is present in Lope Reserve (Gabon), where there is relatively good protection (Brugiere 1998), and also in the Foret des Abeilles, which is mostly allocated to logging concessions. Elsewhere, it is recorded from Monte Alen National Park in Rio Muni, and on Bioko from the Southern Highlands Scientific Reserve. Further data on the distribution and status of this species are required.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
1. Forest -> 1.8. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Swamp
1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
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
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
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 -> 2.1.3. 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 -> 5.3.5. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓   National : ✓ 

♦  Wearing apparel, accessories
 Local : ✓   National : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Brugiere, D. 1998. Population size of the black colobus monkey, Colobus satanas, and the impact of logging in Lope Reserve, Central Gabon. Biological Conservation 86: 15-20.

Carpaneto, G. M. 1995. Occurrence of black colobus Colobus satanas in Northwestern Congo. African Primates 1(2): 42-44.

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.

Hearn, G.W., Morra, W.A. and Butynski, T.M. 2006. Monkeys in Trouble: The Rapidly Deteriorating Conservation Status of the Monkeys on Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea (2006). Report prepared by the Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program (BBPP).

IUCN. 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Available at: (Accessed: 5 October 2008).

Citation: Oates, J.F., Kingdon, J., Groves, C.P. & Brugiere, D. 2008. Colobus satanas. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T5145A11117016. . Downloaded on 27 April 2018.
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