Sclater’s guenon is Nigeria’s only endemic primate species. It is classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN and listed on Appendix II of CITES. The species was originally described in 1904 (Pocock, 1904) and for many years was considered a subspecies of the red eared guenon Cercopithecus erythrotis. It was eventually recognized by Kingdon (1980) as a distinct species. It belongs to the Cercopithecus cephus group, or superspecies, which also includes the red eared guenon. Compared with other guenons, cephus species are generally smaller, adaptable, and often colourful. This species is most often recognized by its tail colouration: One-half to one-third of the underside proximal side of the tail is bright rust-red.
The Sclater’s guenon is restricted to the rainforest zone between the Niger and Cross Rivers in southern Nigeria. Its extent of occurrence is 28,500km2. Much of the remaining forest throughout the species’ range comprises small, often degraded forest fragments within a largely agricultural landscape; swampy areas difficult to farm; or strips of forest along waterways. Three populations of C. sclateri survive in mostly deforested communities where the local human population regards this monkey as sacred. Although they are not hunted in these sites, the monkeys’ sacred status does not necessarily guarantee their long term survival.
Humans are currently the most important predator of C. sclateri. Hunting is widespread across its range, and the species faces increasing forest loss and degradation. At present, it does not occur in any officially protected area. Nonetheless, there is hope for the future of this special primate, as it has been able to persist in the human-dense region of southern Nigeria, likely because of its small size, adaptability, cryptic nature, and general non-preferred status among hunters relative to other monkeys.
The Sclater’s guenons held at CERCOPAN are the only Sclater’s in the world known to occur in captivity. In fact, many primatologists have never seen a Sclater’s guenon, and aspects of their behaviour and ecology in the wild remain essentially unknown. CERCOPAN’s Sclater’s form the basis for the only captive-breeding facility for this endangered primate, please consider supporting our efforts by adopting our Sclater’s group .