Trachypithecus obscurus carbo | Tarutao Dusky Langur

 

Good spot: Langkawi Island, Malaysia

Heavily pregnant!

© Nick Baker

Langkawi Island, Malaysia

Primatology

 

Taxonomy & Occurrence

Dusky Langurs can be found in Myanmar, Peninsular Malaysia, and Thailand. Seven subspecies are currently recognised:

T. o. carbo, T. o. flavicauda, T. o. halonifer, T. o. obscurus, T. o. sanctorum, T. o. seimundi, and T. o. styx [1].

The Tarutao Dusky Langur (T. o. carbo) can be found on Tarutao Island (Thailand), and Langkawi and Dayang Bunting islands (Malaysia).

 

IUCN Conservation Status

Endangered [2]

 

Seeing this Species

 

Langkawi is actually an archipelago of 99 islands (plus five more visible only at low tide) off the coast of northwestern Peninsular Malaysia. The Tarutao Dusky Langur is known to occur on the two largest islands (eponymous Langkawi Island, and Dayang Bunting Island). Roughly 8km north of Langkawi Island is Thailand's Tarutao Island, where the duskies are also found. 

 

Langkawi Island, Malaysia

Langkawi Island is a popular tourist destination with sandy beaches and seemingly endless coastlines. In fact, amid the urban conveniences, two-thirds of the island are still composed of mountains, hills, and forests. The Tarutao Dusky Langurs can be observed in many of these green spots, hence the choice of the primate-watching location depends on what else you would like to get out of the journey and experience. 

Some of the easiest spots include the forested areas surrounding the Ambong Ambong villas in Pantai Tengah (along Jalan Teluk Baru) and near the ferry jetty in Kuah. On the Burau Bay, you can try your (good) luck next to the boardwalk which runs along the coast.

 

If immersing in the larger landscape is part of the itinerary, you can consider exploring Gunung Mat Cincang. It is the second highest mountain on Langkawi Island at 850m a.s.l., whereas its neighbour, Gunung Raya, stands slightly taller at 881m. Gunung Mat Cincang is probably a more popular mountain as it is home to the famous cable car and the sky bridge which offer sweeping views all the way to the Malaysian mainland and even across to southern Thailand. As the chances of spotting the duskies during the cable car ride or on the sky bridge are not high, the recommendation is to do a short hike, starting from the base of the Seven Wells Waterfall (yes, you can even take a Grab or drive there). From there, do the Trail 701 hike. It is a rather steep hike (~4 hours round trip) which can be challenging so there is no need to complete the entire trail if you are only hoping to see the duskies whilst adding a bit of an exercise. They are usually found at the lower elevations.

When you do spot the duskies (congrats!) and other wild animals, remember to keep a safe distance (at least 5m), avoid flash photography, do not feed them, and keep food and plastic bags away as some of the animals have learned to associate plastic bags with food. Happy primate-watching!

Probability of success: ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ 

 

Overlapping species:

Other sites:

Dayang Bunting Island, Malaysia

Tarutao Island, Thailand

Local contacts: Night Spotting Project

 

A family of six duskies chilling post-feeding

© Nick Baker

Langkawi Island, Malaysia

Infants are born orange in colour, a characteristic of Trachypithecus langurs

© Nick Baker

Langkawi Island, Malaysia

References

[1] Mittermeier R.A., Rylands A.B. and Wilson D.E., 2013. Handbook of the mammals of the world, Vol. 3, Primates. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

[2] Boonratana R., Ang A. and Traeholt C., 2021. Trachypithecus obscurus carbo. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

 

Page Last Updated: 8 June 2021