Conserving one of the world’s most endangered species of primates in Assam, India

This Endangered Species Day, we are delighted to announce a new partnership with Conservation Himalayas that will connect fragmented populations of the golden langur – one of the world’s most endangered primates.  

Little is known about this incredibly shy species, as they tend to avoid humans as much as they can.  

We know that they are mostly active in the day, and live in groups averaging about eight individuals, and that they are arboreal, which means that they live in trees, and rarely come down from the canopy.  

Today, less than 8,000 individuals exist in the wild, and the population is splintered across disconnected habitats, leading to a reduction in genetic diversity and breeding opportunities.  This disconnection combined with the degradation of existing habitats poses a tremendous challenge to conservationists working to protect and rejuvenate this species.  

Without immediate action, we run the risk of losing a species of our closest relatives in the animal kingdom.  

So, what exactly are we doing to help?

Bridging the gap between separated populations 

Golden langurs have only been observed coming down from trees to drink water, and only in seasons when they cannot drink dew or rain from leaves. Their overall physiology is adapted to allow them to live on trees all their lives, including their long tail that helps them balance as they leap from branch to branch.  

Today, individual groups of these primates find themselves trapped on tree islands surrounded by roads. leading to a reduction in genetic diversity that leaves the species vulnerable to population decimation by disease. 

The degradation of forest habitats due to anthropogenic pressures further affects this species, resulting in a steady decline of population, exacerbated by human-monkey conflict incidents like road accidents, among others.  

Since the ground is not an option, our partner, Conservation Himalayas looked above, and decided to build artificial canopy bridges. 

These aerial bridges connect trees on either side of a road and allow the monkeys to reach across fragmented habitats, following their preferred pathway through the sky. Providing our closest relatives safe passage to their families is the least of what we can do, and that is why we are not stopping there.  

Learning to live together 

Conservation of species like the Golden langur needs support from communities, who live in the land that may have previously served as corridors that the primates use to move within their habitats.  

Conservation Himalayas will be collaborating with local communities to not only educate them about the golden langurs, but also get them engaged with the work of helping these rare primates thrive in their backyard.  

Understanding the species and monitoring the population is crucial to promote peaceful coexistence and resource-sharing between humans and our closest relatives, the primates.  

We are looking forward to connecting our uncannily humanlike primates with each other and getting their human neighbours excited about protecting this gorgeous species. Stay updated on our work with golden langurs and other incredible species across South Asia by signing up for our newsletter! 

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