The not so common Langur of Blue Mountains
The NilgiriLangur, often overlooked in preference of its popular cousin, the Lion tailed Macaque, is found in the hill ranges of Palni, Anamalais and Coorg in the Nilgiri range.
The Montane Sholas and rolling grasslands of Nilgiri Hills or Blue Mountains are home to a rich Biodiversity of Flora and Fauna. Amongst all endemic and threatened inhabitants of Western Ghats, NilgiriLangur (SemnopithecusJohnii) is one Primate which is not very well known and is often mistaken with its more widely famous counterpart i.e. Lion Tailed Macaque.
NilgiriLangur is recognizable from the other forest Macaque of Southern India, The Lion Tailed Macaque, by its yellow tinted furs on head and long tail (Lion tailed Macaque has an ashy grey mane and a tufted medium sized tail).
Although equally charming and Elusive as other boisterous troops of the wild, NilgiriLangurs are often overlooked by wildlife enthusiasts.It is also known by various other names like ‘Indian Hooded Leaf Monkey’, ‘Nilgiri Leaf Monkey’ and ‘Nilgiri Black Langur’. Significant population of this primate is found in the hill ranges of Palni, Anamalais and Coorg as well.
NilgiriLangurs generally live in troops and are quite vocal with the characteristic “HooHoo” call that can be heard mostly at dawn and dusk. Unlike their commonly found cousins i.e. Grey Langurs, NilgiriLangurs remain Wary of Human Beings. They manage to camouflage their glossy black furs behind the branches very well with only curious head peeping out and the moment you get your gear ready for a decent photograph, they will not be anywhere in the vicinity.Being Folivorous, they feed mainly on leaves but fruits, shoots and insects also are a part of their diet.
Habitat Destruction, attributed to increasing human encroachment on forest cover for cultivation purposes, rise in human settlements and developmental projects like dams etc has resulted in dwindling population of NilgiriLangurs. Poaching for its fur and flesh also poses a survival threat to this species.
Their declining population in the wild leaving them ‘Vulnerable’, is a matter of serious concern and thus calls for strict enforcement of wildlife Laws and other necessary steps to conserve the vanishing Primate of Western Ghats.