Please! No Monkeying Around With Golden Langurs
They look bright and marvelous, but are too few in number to give us an opportunity to enjoy the cynosure that they are. Found primarily in Assam, the Golden Langur is an endangered species and much needs to be done to ensure that their dwindling count doesn't reach extinction.
Geographic distribution of Gee's Golden Langur (Trachypithecus geei). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Before we lead you further into the thought, let us thanks you for sparing a moment to notice the headline of this story. Now all we expect from you is that once you reach the end of this pen-pushing act, remember that the ones, who have no voice, need you to speak up.
Having said that, let’s stop monkeying around on the Internet and instead think about the dwindling count of the Golden Langurs. Primarily found in Assam, India and in parts of Bhutan, the total population of this one of the most endangered primate species of India is not more than a few-thousand.
That they exist in India must be news for most of us. Well, it ought to be, when the custodians of news broadcast and publication are busy chasing and counting the Tigers, and when everything Northeastern becomes Chinese for the mainstream. So now when we have actual ‘exclusive’ news for you, we cannot leave you in the lurch with ‘half truth and complete lies’. So, here comes are the details.
The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species classifies this species as Endangered. The IUCN justifies the ‘endangered’ tag for this species as Golden Langurs “witness a serious population decline, estimated to be more than 50% over the last three generations (thirty years), inferred from observed reduction in the extent of its habitat; and because its population size is estimated to number fewer than 2,500 mature individuals, there is an observed continuing decline in the number of mature individuals, and no sub-population contains more than 250 mature individuals.”
Interestingly, although the Golden Langurs have long been considered holy by the Himalayan people, they, as a unique species, came to the attention of scientists only in the late 1950s. Known for its majestic golden coat and a long bushy tail, the Golden Langur, endemic to India and Bhutan, is limited to a small forest belt in western Assam and Bhutan between the river Manas in the east, the river Sankosh in the west and the Brahmaputra in the south.
Zoologists better know these monkeys as Trachypithecus geei. It was EP Gee, a well-known naturalist who discovered this species and hence their name. Usually, newly discovered species are named after the place they were found at, or the one who discovered them.
Those actively involved in wildlife conservation in Assam say the major reason for the dwindling count of the species is deforestation. Add to it the recent inclination of the young locals towards eating primate meat, and you have a serious issue staring in your face.
Well, the picture is not that bleak as efforts are afoot to revive the dying species.
Scientists at the Bodoland University are working towards test tube production of the endangered Golden Langur, using the embryo-transfer technology.
Vice-chancellor, Bodoland University, Mohan Lal Brahma, has been quoted by a reputed daily as saying,
“Embryo-transfer techniques have been applied to nearly every species of domestic animal and many species of wildlife and exotic animals. The population of the golden langur is fast declining because of various reasons and unless something is done immediately, this exotic animal will soon disappear from this earth. So it is our responsibility to increase the population of the species.”
He goes on to cite the practical convenience of going ahead with the plan. He states,
“Our University is quite close to the Manas National Park, where the Golden Langur is found, hence it would be easy to carry out the embryo transfer process.”
If the Bodoland University is successful in this, the future of the Manas National Park would also stand bright, for several tourists and wildlife enthusiasts visit the National Park to spot the Golden Langur.
Interestingly, according to reliable reports, the Assam State zoo-cum-botanical garden is also thinking about building a conservation-breeding centre for the Golden Langurs on its premises. Once completed, the facility promises to be a big boon to researchers and if the project tastes success, according to reports, at least 100 Golden Langurs could be nurtured, which could then be released into the wild. This sounds encouraging.
Now, the question arises what you can do to save the monkey. Well, nobody exactly expects you to go out in the wild and protect the species. You can do your bit by simply spreading the word about how India is home to such a wonderful animals and how the animal is nearing extinction. You can talk about the issue wherever and whenever possible. Write about it, share this story, start online campaigns, and try and make the issue popular, so that the media and the authorities get to know that many species deserve conservation efforts – not just the big ones!
Well, no doubt tiger, being our national animal, needs attention but the Golden Langurs equally deserve to live! Don’t they?
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