Lophocebus – Crested mangabeys

Possibly only about 1300 of these individuals are present in the wild

These intriguing monkeys are native to various regions of Africa, where they inhabit a range of habitats, from dense rainforests to open woodlands.

One of the defining characteristics of mangabeys is their robust build and quadrupedal locomotion. With deep depressions beneath their cheekbones and expandable cheek pouches, they possess adaptations that aid in processing their varied diet. Their tails, which can reach lengths comparable to their head and body, serve as versatile appendages for balance and coordination as they navigate their arboreal environment. Males typically weigh up to 11 kg (24 pounds), while females are slightly smaller, weighing around 6 kg (13 pounds).

Despite their formidable appearance, mangabeys are highly sociable creatures, often forming cohesive social groups that range in size and composition. Within these groups, individuals engage in complex social interactions, including grooming, playing, and vocalizing. Communication among mangabeys is facilitated by a unique vocal sac, which allows them to produce a wide range of vocalizations, from soft grunts and chirps to loud calls that can reverberate through the forest canopy. These vocalizations serve various purposes, including warning of predators, coordinating group movements, and maintaining social cohesion.

In addition to their vocal prowess, mangabeys exhibit remarkable intelligence and adaptability, which is reflected in their dietary habits. While they primarily consume leaves, fruits, and seeds, their robust dentition enables them to consume a wide variety of foods, including hard fruits that other primates may find challenging to chew. This dietary flexibility allows mangabeys to exploit a diverse range of food sources, ensuring their survival in ever-changing environments.

Despite their remarkable adaptations and social complexity, mangabeys face numerous threats to their survival. Habitat loss and fragmentation due to deforestation, agricultural expansion, and human encroachment are among the most significant challenges they face. Additionally, mangabeys are vulnerable to hunting and poaching for bushmeat and the pet trade, further exacerbating their decline in the wild.