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| Last Updated:: 07/12/2015

Primates: fighting for survival




From the Kashmir grey langur found in India to Western purple-faced langur of Sri Lanka, Lac Alaotra bamboo lemur and Perrier’s sifaka of Madagascar and Sumatran orangutan of Indonesia are all fighting the most critical battle: to survive.


The International Union for Conservation of Nature has come out with the list of world’s 25 most endangered primates, which was compiled by the Primate Specialist Group of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission, Bristol Zoological Society, the International Primatological Society, and Conservation International.


The report highlighted “the plight of 25 species including the Hainan gibbon ( Nomascus hainanus ), of which there are thought to be just 25 individuals left in the wild.


Similarly, around just 50, and the Northern sportive lemurs ( Lepilemur septentrionalis ) of which just around 50 remain in their native Madagascar.”


The burning and clearing of tropical forests leading to the release of greenhouse gases causing climate change and habitat destruction, hunting for food and illegal wildlife trade were identified as the major threats to these prized 25.


While Madagasakar has five of its species in the list, India has one, the Kashmir Gray Langur, also known as Himalayan Grey Langur or Chamba Sacred Langur.


The species was enlisted as Critically Endangered way back in 2008 in the Red List of IUCN as it was “restricted in its range with an extent of occurrence of less than 5,000 sq km and an area of occupancy of less than 500 sq km, being to a valley surrounded by high peaks in Chamba which is affected by human activities causing a continuing decline in habitat quality.”


A very small population of Himalayan Grey Langur with “less than 250 mature individuals” was surviving. The species was found occurring in Northwestern India in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. The valley where it lived was surrounded by snow peaks and therefore it remained isolated from other langurs.



The assessment that only 25 individuals of Hainan gibbons, 50 of Northern sportive lemur and 60 of Golden headed langur were remaining in the wild has pressed the alarm bells for conservationists.