Tana River Red Colobus

Piliocolobus rufomitratus



The Tana River Red Colobus is small primate with dark red/brown fur. They measure up to 67cm long (head and body length) with a long tail of up to 80cm.


Unknown. Similar species live up to 30 years in captivity.


Total population is estimated at 1,100-1,300

Habitat and range

The Tana River Red Colobus is limited to a very small area made up of fragmented patches of forest along the banks of the lower Tana River in Kenya. The total known range is just 60km.


Their diet is almost exclusively made up of leaves supplemented with the occasional fruit, moss and seeds. Because of the low nutritional quality of their diet, they spend a lot of their time browsing and eat 2-3kg of leaves a day.


The species has declined and continues to at risk because of changes in vegetation due to dam construction, forest clearance and degradation from livestock and wood collection, as well as hunting. The major current threat to the existing population is the proposed Tana Integrated Sugar Project in Tana River and Lamu Districts which threatens more than 200km2 of habitat in the area.


Around 40% of the Tana River red colobus population is found in the Tana River Primate Reserve where it is monitored and the habitat is protected. Tusk’s longstanding partner the Northern Rangelands Trust supports the Ndara Conservancy which is spearheading community conservation efforts in the Tana River area.

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