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.

Endemic in the equatorial coastal forest zone from central Cameroon to Angola, including Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, and the extreme west of Congo. Gabon talapoins are never found far from the banks of rivers or swamps where thick underbrush offers them cover and protection from predators.

  • Small monkeys, they depend upon dense cover to avoid predation, preferring the thick undergrowth typically found along riverbanks
  • Although tolerant of habitat modifications and human neighbors, they are threatened by habitat loss and hunting
This means that they are likely to become endangered in the near future.

As is the case with most primates, their greatest threat is habitat loss and fragmentation fueled by the rapid conversion of forests by humans for agriculture and infrastructure and other projects.

Current trends show the overall population of Gabon talapoins decreasing. However, their local densities increase—sometimes even doubling—the nearer a group lives to a human settlement. It is possible that the decrease of predators in such areas helps to stabilize their numbers. Additionally, agriculture makes new sources of food available, in the form of cultivated crops, that the monkeys are all too happy to raid. A particular talapoin favorite is cassava root. After cassava is harvested, it must be soaked thoroughly before consumption to rid it of naturally occurring cyanide, a deadly poison. A common local practice is to leave the roots to leach in the river. Left out in the open like this, it becomes easily accessible to any hungry talapoin monkeys who happen to come around.

At this time, it is unclear what affect the monkeys’ crop raiding has on their relationship with local humans. In some areas, troops of Gabon talapoins once associated with certain villages are vanishing or have already vanished. Being such small monkeys, they are not typically targeted by hunters. However, as larger animals are becoming over-hunted, and farmers feel more driven to defend their crops, it may be that the practice of killing Gabon talapoins is becoming more common.

  1. Gabon talapoins are wild monkeys that require a specific habitat. 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. Gabon talapoins belong with other talapoins in the riverine and swampy forests of equatorial Africa. They and their habitats must be protected, not exploited.

Visit the GABON TALAPOIN 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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