The world’s second largest population of the Critically Endangered Delacour’s langur primate has recently been discovered by conservation NGO Fauna & Flora International, giving fresh hope for one of the planet’s rarest species.
Following anecdotal reports of sightings in a once largely unexplored forest in the north of Vietnam, scientists from Fauna & Flora International (FFI) Vietnam conducted field assessments to ascertain whether this species does indeed live in the area.
FFI Vietnam’s Biodiversity Technical Advisor, Hoang Trinh said, “Our surveys and assessments revealed that there was a population of significant size. We detected seven groups of Delacour’s langur, with the total number of primates in the population as high as 40. Only one other area in Vietnam has a larger population of Delacour’s langur.”
This striking black and white primate is indigenous to Vietnam; however, because of human activities such as hunting, stone mining and charcoal production, it is currently under severe threat of extinction with fewer than 250 left. Although they remain in grave danger of being wiped out within a decade, scientists now have renewed hope that they can be saved.
Mr Trinh continued, “This discovery is good news both for the species and for the people of Vietnam, particularly because we have also identified a number of infants and juveniles among the groups. This means that they are breeding and, if we can protect them, they should be able to thrive in this habitat once again.”
However, Dr Benjamin Rawson, Country Director of FFI Vietnam, warns that urgent interventions to curb negative human activity such as hunting and mining are needed to safeguard these prized primates and their habitat.
Speaking from the Congress of the International Primatological Society in Chicago he said, “We’ve notified the Vietnamese authorities of our findings and recommendations, and we continue to work alongside officials and local communities to ensure the Delacour’s langur doesn’t become this century’s first primate extinction.”
For more information, read the media release.
Images courtesy of Nguyen Van Truong.