India’s golden langur 

News Excerpt:

According to a recently conducted survey, there are an estimated 7,396 golden langurs in India.

About Golden Langurs:

  • Golden langurs get their name from the striking golden-orange colour of their fur. 
  • The species was discovered in 1953 by E.P. Gee. 
  • It is endemic to north-western Assam, India and southern Bhutan. 
  • They seldom leave the safety of the canopy except when forced to brave forest gaps created by roads and other infrastructure.

  • They are confined to this geographic region by the Manas and Sankosh rivers to the east and west, the Brahmaputra river in the south, and the Black Mountains to the north. 
    • Here, altitudes vary greatly, it shows that golden langurs may live anywhere between sea level and 9,800 feet (3,000 m) above sea level.
  • Golden langurs are relatively small primates, weighing between 9 to 12 kg. 
  • Males, measuring an average of 37 inches (95 cm) from head to butt, tend to be slightly larger than females at 35 inches (89 cm).
  • Tail length marks a considerable difference between the sexes. 
    • The average male golden langur sports a tail longer than his body, at 38 inches (97.5 cm) long, 
    • An average female golden langur has a tail measuring only 34 inches (86.6 cm).
  • Golden langurs help disperse the seeds from the fruit they eat, which is critical to healthy forest development and sustainability.
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) status: Endangered.

About the Survey:

  • The comprehensive population estimation of the endangered primate (survey) was carried out in two phases by the Primate Research Centre NE India (PRCNE), Assam Forest Department, Bodoland Territorial Council, Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON), and Conservation Himalayas.
  • The block count method was applied for the first time to assess the abundance, spatial distribution, and densities of the golden langur populations.
    • This method is considered to be relatively simple, cost-effective, and robust for arboreal and small group-living primates such as the golden langur.

Key findings of the survey:

  • Researchers observed 7,720 individuals of golden langurs in 706 unique groups and 31 lone males (floating males). 
    • Estimating minimum population size, researchers found there to be 7,396 individuals in 707 groups, inclusive of bisexual and male bands, along with 31 lone males.
  • The survey report underlined an unstable situation in the fragmented habitats of the golden langurs, particularly due to the absence of non-breeding all-male bands.
  • The survey highlighted the need for corridor linkage among the fragmented habitats through plantations and canopy bridges to offset potential threats the primates face from anthropogenic interactions.
  • The population of golden langurs is divided into two major sub-populations. 
    • The northern extended population, which encompasses the western part of the Manas Biosphere Reserve, extending from the Sankosh River to the Manas River up to the India-Bhutan border along the northern side of National Highway 27 and State Highway 2.
      • The northern population of the primate with the golden sheen was estimated at 5,566 in 534 groups and 23 lone males.
      • The Ripu Reserve Forest was home to the most (2,847) northern population of golden langurs.
    • The southern fragmented population occurs along the southern side of NH27 up to the Brahmaputra River in the south.
      • The population of the southern fragments was estimated at 1,830 langurs in 173 groups and eight lone males.
      • Kokrajhar district’s Chakrashila Wildlife Sanctuary was home to the most (838) southern population of golden langurs.


The survey on golden langurs in India provides crucial information of their population status and habitat distribution. With an estimated population of 7,396 individuals, efforts to protect this endangered species are of high importance for ecological balance. Habitat fragmentation remains a significant concern, highlighting the need for conservation strategies such as corridor linkage and habitat protection to ensure the species' survival and healthy forest development in the region.

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