Diana Monkey

(Cercopithecus diana)




Facts about this animal

Diana monkeys belong to the cheek-pouch monkeys. They are an agile, long-limbed species with strongly contrasting colours and pattern. Females are 40-48cm high, their weight is 2.2-3.5kg, the males are 50-60cm high with a weight of 3.5-7.5 kg. Tails can exceed 80cm.


The diet mainly consists of fruits and insects and they depend on primary or old secondary forest, where they occupy the high strata zone.


Groups of about 6-8 females and their young are accompanied by 1 adult territorial male, the average group size is 14 (10-50) animals. The males utter loud calls, typically in the morning, after resting and at any disturbance. Depending on context the meaning of the loud calls varies and can transfer certain information to the other group members and the group reacts to it.


The Diana superspecies is divided into two species: The Diana monkey (Cercopithecus diana diana) and the Roloway monkey (Cercopithecus diana roloway), though their taxonomy is unresolved. This primate group is considered to be one of the world's most colorful in which the Roloway monkey is distinguished from the Diana by having a longer beard, wider brow line and narrower face mask.


The sub-species are geographically separated from one another: The Diana monkey occurs in Côte d'Ivoire only west of the river Sassandra with a range extending as far as Sierra Leone, whereas the Roloway monkey has an even more limited distribution. It is found in southeastern Côte d'Ivoire from the river Sassandra to southwestern Ghana.

Did you know?
That this species is called "Diana monkey" because the distinctive white oblique stripe across the thigh is thought to resemble a bow, which was associated with Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt.


Suborder SIMIAE
Name (Scientific) Cercopithecus diana
Name (English) Diana Monkey
Name (French) Cercopithèque diane
Name (German) Dianameerkatze
Name (Spanish) Cercopiteco de Diana
CITES Status Appendix II
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Andrew Gray



Range CĂ´te d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone
Habitat Primary and old secondary lowland moist forest and riverine forest
Wild population In Ghana C. roloway is on the verge of extinction, if it has not disappeared already (2007) (Red List UICN 2011)
Zoo population 150 reported to ISIS, of which 39 Cercopithecus diana roloway (2007)

In the Zoo

Diana Monkey


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 31 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


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Why do zoos keep this animal

The Diana monkey (Cercopithecus diana) is an endangered species and the eastern subspecies, the Roloway monkey (Cercopithecus diana roloway), is even classified as Critically Endangered. The main risks that all West African forest primates are facing are habitat destruction and commercial hunting with traps, snares and guns. Due to commercial logging and often uncontrolled deforestation roads and trails are cut deep into the rain forest. These are used by poachers to transport and dispense the "bushmeat" into larger and more distant towns.


These conditions have allowed the commercial "bushmeat" trade to increase dramatically, with several thousand tons sold on urban markets every year. Also other mammals such as duikers and pangolins are affected by the "bushmeat problem". Ex situ breeding programmes established under an International Studbook (1988), which ensure the survival of the species at least in zoos combined with in situ conservation activities in West Africa could prevent the extinction of the Diana monkey and other endangered primates.


The captive animals are also ambassadors for their species and present the "bushmeat problem" in West Africa to the public. Further information: www.wapca.org