Golden langur (Trachypithecus geei)

French: Entelle Dorée, Langur Doré, Semnopithèque De Gee, Semnopithèque Doré
Spanish: Langur Dorado
KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassMammalia
OrderPrimates
FamilyCercopithecidae
GenusTrachypithecus (1)
SizeHead-body length: 49 - 72 cm (2)
Tail length: 71 - 94 cm (2)
Weight9.5 - 12 kg (2)

Classified as Endangered (EN - A1acd, C2a) on the IUCN Red List 2002 (1), and listed on Appendix I of CITES (3).

The golden langur is a particularly attractive leaf-eating monkey found in northeastern India and Bhutan. As its name suggests, the coat is a beautiful golden to creamy white, gaining a more reddish tinge in winter. Infants are orange-brown to grey when newborn (4).

This monkey was only ‘discovered’ as recently as 1956, it is found in Bhutan and in the state of Assam in northeast India (1). A new subspecies (T. g. bhutanensis) was officially described in 2003 from northern Bhutan, leaving the rest of the population classified as T. g. geei (5).

Inhabits evergreen and deciduous tropical forests (4).

Very little is known about these elusive monkeys. Groups of between 2 and 12 individuals have been observed, and these are normally made up of one or two mature males with a number of females and their offspring. Active during the day, these monkeys are particularly arboreal, only rarely alighting on the ground. After a gestation period of around 6 months, females will give birth to a single young; male offspring tend to disperse from their natal group (4).

Groups of golden langurs are more active in the morning and evening, resting during the heat of midday. These monkeys feed predominantly on leaves but will also eat fruit and seeds (4). The mating season is in January and February, and a single offspring is born in July or August (6).

Currently there is little information on the population size and distribution of the golden langur. Large areas of forest in this part of Asia have been cleared for timber and to make way for developments and agriculture, and it may be that these monkeys are now mainly restricted to forest reserves, which are themselves under threat from illegal logging (7).

International trade in this species is banned by its listing on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) (3). Golden langurs are protected within a number of reserves such as the Manas National Park in Assam; a World Heritage Site that has suffered from conflict in the past but which is now undergoing a rehabilitation programme (8). The American-based conservation organisation Community Conservation is working with the Assam government on reforestation programmes and also on improving community education on the issues involved (7).

Authenticated (02/04/05) by Matt Richardson.

  1. IUCN Red List (April, 2003)
    http://www.redlist.org
  2. Macdonald, D. (2001) The New Encyclopedia of Mammals. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  3. CITES (April, 2003)
    http://www.cites.org
  4. Primate Info Net (April, 2003)
    http://www.primate.wisc.edu/pin/factsheets/trachypithecus_geei.html
  5. Wangchuk, T., Inouye, D.W. and Hare, M.P. (2003) A new subspecies of golden langur (Trachypithecus geei) from Bhutan. Folia Primatologica, 74(2): 104 - 108.
  6. Richardson, M. (2005) Pers. comm.
  7. Community Conservation (April, 2003)
    http://www.communityconservation.org/india.html
  8. World Heritage Committee (April, 2003)
    http://whc.unesco.org/sites/338.htm