Industry Desk: In the last three decades, Bangladesh has lost 80% of the Phayre’s leaf monkeys. Researchers are worried as these numbers have reduced in just three generations (10-12 years for each generation) and at this rate, they could get wiped out in just two or three more generations. Initiatives need to be taken immediately to save this endangered species.
The extinction of this species will pose a serious threat to the natural forestry of Bangladesh. Because 14% of their food is fruits and seeds and these monkeys play an important role in spreading seeds to different areas of the forest which gives new life to the forests.
They have white circles around their eyes. Most of the part of their body is black. They are listed as an endangered species.
The scientific name of ‘Phayre’s leaf monkey’ or ‘Phayre’s Langur’ is ‘Trachypithecus phayrei’.
Phayre’s leaf monkeys are mostly vegetarian who eat leaves, flowers, fruits, and insects.
They live in groups, there are many girls in a troop, and the leader of a troop is a strong male Phayre’s leaf monkey. These animals are usually silent but can make very loud noises when they are in danger. Their shouts act as alarm calls to warn others in the troops of a possible danger.
These magnificent creatures are one of the three species of lutungs found in Bangladesh. They are mostly seen in the forests of Sylhet and Chittagong. They are also found in India, Myanmar, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos. IUCN, n 2015, declared these animals as endangered in the world and critically endangered in Bangladesh.
Professor Dr Krieg of the Department of Biological Anthropology at Southern California University did his ph.D. in 1990 on lutungs in Bangladesh. He is the first who wrote a research paper on the ecology of Phayre’s leaf monkey. Then the number of these animals were around 1,300. But in the last four decades, the number of Phayre’s leaf monkeys has dropped by 80%.
A study conducted in December and January of last year showed that 145 Phayre’s leaf monkeys in 13 troops lived in Lawachara of Moulvibazar and Satchari of Habiganj.
Assistant Professor of Zoology at Jagannath University, Habibun Nahar, said: “The body length of this species is usually 53 cm and the length of the tail is 76 cm. The main reason for the reduction of Phayre’s leaf monkeys is deforestation. Deforestation causes a lack of habitat and food for these monkeys. The forest is being divided into many smaller sections by making roads through them and cutting the trees down. Another major problem is putting the power lines through the forest. As a result, all kinds of animals are being harmed. In Lawachara and Satchhari, four Phayre’s leaf monkeys were killed after getting electrocuted in 2016. If they aren’t protected now, they will be wiped out soon.”
Researcher Tanvir Ahmed Shoikot, Md. Sabit Hossain and Shimul Nath worked in this research project under the supervision of Assistant Professor of Zoology at Jagannath University, Habibun Nahar. The students of the Zoology department also contributed to this research project.