© Tim Davenport / WCS. Used with permission.

Also known as the HIGHLAND MANGABEY

Common names are not officially defined. They are based on everyday conversational language and may differ by country, region, profession, community, or other factors. As a result, it is not unusual for a species to have more than one common name.

Scientific names are in Latin and they are written in italics. They are standardized and for everyone, no matter what language you may speak. They are bound by a formal naming system, called binominal nomenclature, that has strict rules. Scientific names prevent misidentification. Those names only change if a species, or its genus, is officially redesignated by experts.

Kipunjis live in Tanzania in two populations that are separated by non-forested, agricultural land. One population is in the Rungwe-Kitulo Forest in the Southern Highlands of southwestern Tanzania. The other population is found in the Vikongwa Valley, Ndundulu Forest, in the Kilombero Nature Reserve in the Udzungwa Mountains of south-central Tanzania.

  • The kipunji was discovered in 2003 and distinguished by DNA as not just a unique species, but a unique genus
  • It is among the newest named African monkey species, and the first new monkey genus to be name since 1923
  • Living in the shelter of the forests they avoid open spaces
  • Approximately 1,100 individuals remain
  • Their populations fragment as their habitat is degraded
  • One of the world’s 25 most endangered primate species
Endangered means that there is a high risk that they could become extinct in the wild.

The forests kipunjis call home are degraded, due to logging and other practices. As the forests become more fragmented, so too do kipunji populations. In addition, kipunjis are sometimes hunted, illegally, as crop raiders. ​There are approximately 1,966 wild kipunjis left living in protected reserves in Tanzania. In 2006, just three years after discovery, the kipunji was listed among the world’s 25 most endangered primate species and appeared on the list again in 2008.

  1. Kipunjis are wild animals. Their diet and environmental needs cannot be adequately met or replicated in human living conditions. 
  2. To become pets, baby primates are stolen from their mothers. As a result, they do not develop normally emotionally.
  3. When taken from the wild, their mothers are killed to capture the baby.
  4. Primates are never domesticated. They always remain wild. 
  5. Caged primates are very unhappy and frustrated. They are likely to resist confinement. They are quick and cause damaging bites and scratches. Some die as a result of their captivity.
  6. Many locations have strict regulations that prohibit trading in or keeping primates and endangered species are pets.
  7. Kipunjis belong with other kipunjis in the highland forests of Tanzania, Africa. They and their habitats must be protected, not exploited.

Visit the KIPUNJI Primate Species Profile

 Copyright © New England Primate Conservancy 2019. You may freely use and share these learning activities for educational purposes. 
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