Black & White Colobus Monkey
Black-and-white colobuses (or colobi) are Old World monkeys of the genus Colobus, native to Africa. They are closely related to the brown colobus monkeys of genus Piliocolobus. The word “colobus” comes from Greek κολοβός kolobós (“docked”), and is so named because in this genus, the thumb is a stump.
Colobuses are herbivorous, eating leaves, fruit, flowers, and twigs. Their habitats include primary and secondary forests, riverine forests, and wooded grasslands; they are found more in higher-density logged forests than in other primary forests. Their ruminant-like digestive systems have enabled these leaf-eaters to occupy niches that are inaccessible to other primates.
Colobuses live in territorial groups of about nine individuals, based upon a single male with a number of females and their offspring. Newborn colobuses are completely white. Cases of allomothering are documented, which means members of the troop other than the infant’s biological mother care for it.
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Colobuses are important for seed dispersal through their sloppy eating habits, as well as through their digestive systems. They are prey for many forest predators, and are threatened by hunting for the bushmeat trade, logging, and habitat destruction.
This forest-dwelling colobus monkey is a handsome creature found only in the forest parks — Mt Kenya, Mt Elgon, Aberdare and Saiwa Swamp.
The monkey is basically black but has a white face, bushy white tail and a white ‘cape’ around the back which flows out behind when the monkey moves through the trees — an impressive sight. An average colobus measures about 140 cm, of which about 80 cm is tail, and weighs from 10 kg to 23 kg.
The black and white colobus spends most of its time In the forest canopy and is easily missed unless you keep a sharp eye out. It is unusual for them to leave the trees; they get most of their water from small puddles formed in the hollows of branches and trunks. Colobus monkey are usually found in troops of up to 12 animals, consisting of a dominant male, females and young. Newborn monkeys are initially white, gaining their adult coat at around six months.