Francois’ langurs on the edge of the precipice

Francois’ langur (Trachypithecus francoisi) could slip into extinction almost without anyone noticing. That was the outcome of a recent two-day workshop organised by FFI in Nanning, capital city of Guangxi Province, China.

The meeting brought together nature reserve staff from the three provinces, scientists and other stakeholders to assess the status of the species. It was the first such assessment in several years.

FFI will be conducting surveys of Francois’ langur in Vietnam later this year and is now planning to support efforts to conserve this species in China. We shouldn’t wait until it reaches the same status as other more critically endangered primates in the region, before we act.

It is believed that fewer than 2,000 Francois’ langur individuals are left in the wild. The species is highly fragmented, with few if any means for connectivity between populations.

It ranges from north east Vietnam and north through three provinces of southern China and is currently listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. In some areas of Guangxi, hunting remains a significant threat, in particular to satisfy local appetites for medicinal alcohol made with the bones of the langur. Habitat loss is a problem across its range.

Northern Vietnam and southern China are global hotspots for primate diversity with several species of the rarest langurs and gibbons in the world. Some of these primates are the focus of FFI’s regional primate conservation programme such as the Tonkin snub-nosed monkey and cao vit gibbon.

Photo credits: Luo Yang/FFI.