The Roloway Monkey

17th July 2010

The Roloway monkey is one of the three most endangered monkeys of Ghana on the west coast of Africa. Roloway monkeys are an arboreal species found primarily in undisturbed, mature forests. Sadly, they do not appear to be very adaptable to changes in their habitat making them particularly vulnerable to human activity. Roloway monkeys are found in Ghana and eastern Cote d’Ivoire, also found in Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Roloway monkeys mostly inhabit forests and are found under the canopy of the rainforests.


The average size of an adult male Roloway monkey is around 5 kilograms and for females, 4 kilograms. Their facial hair colour is black, however, they have a white beard. Orange colouring can be found on the inside of their back legs.


Roloway monkeys live in groups of 15 to 30 individuals and like other primates, they interact and move with other primates in the forest. Male Roloway monkeys tend to permanently leave their family group at some point in their lives. Female Roloway monkeys are philopatric. This means they stay with the group that they were born into.


Like all monkeys, Roloway monkeys communicate vocally. Their calls are used to alert the group to a predator or another monkey troop. It is a warning signal of danger. Males may also call to bring the troop back together if they have moved too far apart. Roloway monkeys also communicate visually. They stare when they are threatening another monkey or enemy. When they do this they also raise their eyebrows which pushes their scalp backwards, showing off the bright white fur on their brow line. Sometimes they also stare with their mouths open but not showing their teeth. This is also a threatening stance. Other times they also bob their heads while staring.


Roloway monkeys are frugivore-insectivores meaning that they eat mainly fruit and insects. They also eat leaves and seeds.


Roloway monkeys give birth to one offspring at a time after a gestation period of 5 - 6 months. The life span of the Roloway monkey is 20 - 30 years in captivity, it is unsure how long they live in the wild, but it would be rather shorter.


The Roloway monkey is regarded as endangered by the IUCN. Roloway monkeys are preyed upon by Crowned Hawk-eagles, leopards, chimpanzees and humans. A recent decline of Roloway monkeys is most likely related to the decline in forest habitats and deforestation. In the past 100 years, Ghana has lost 80% of its forested lands. The monkeys are also endangered by extensive bush meat hunting. Over 800 tons of bush meat is sold in Ghana's markets every year.

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