​Also known as the SIMAKOBU MONKEY

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.

Drill have very restricted distribution in southeast Nigeria, in western Cameroon, and on Bioko Island in Equatorial Guinea, about 20 miles (32km) off the west coast of Africa. There are two subspecies: the mainland drill, Mandrillus leucophaeus, found north of the Sanaga River in Cameroon and Nigeria, and the Biolo drill, Mandrillus leucophaesus poensis, found only on Bioko Island, located about 20 miles (32 km) off the west coast of Africa.

  • Drills are among Africa’s least-studied monkeys
  • Their dense habitat and shyness make field observations challenging
  • Drills are one of the largest monkeys in the world
  • Once thought to be a type of forest baboon, drills are more closely related to white-eyelid mangabeys, and are in the same genus as mandrills
Endangered means that there is a high risk that they could become extinct in the wild.

Drill numbers have declined over 50% in the last 30 years. Dwindling habitat, habitat fragmentation, and illegal bushmeat hunting continue to threaten drills’ survival. Drills have also fallen prey to growers of bananas, cocoa, and manioc, who view the elusive monkeys as pests to be eradicated. Hunters will use dogs to drive large troops of drills into trees, where they can be easily shot en masse.
Today, approximately 80% of all drills live in Cameroon, where the human population has surged and drill habitat has yielded to oil palm plantations, oil exploration, and other economic developments.

  1. Drills are very large and strong. They are wild animals with very impressive canine teeth that could inflict a great deal of harm, whether intentionally or unintentionally. 
  2. Their diet and environmental needs cannot be adequately met or replicated in human living conditions. 
  3. To become pets, baby primates are stolen from their mothers. As a result, they do not develop normally emotionally.
  4. When taken from the wild, their mothers are killed to capture the baby.
  5. Primates are never domesticated. They always remain wild. 
  6. 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.
  7. Many locations have strict regulations that prohibit trading in or keeping primates and endangered species are pets.
  8. Drills belong with other langurs in West Africa. They and their habitats must be protected, not exploited.

Visit the DRILL 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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