Trachypithecus phayrei | Phayre's Langur

 

Good spot: Lawachara National Park, Bangladesh

Trachypithecus phayrei

Phayre's Langur mom and juvenile

© Tanvir Ahmed

 

Primatology

 

Taxonomy & Occurrence

Trachypithecus phayrei is a monotypic species (no subspecies). It is distributed in eastern Bangladesh, northeastern India (Assam, Tripura, Mizoram) and western Myanmar [1].

 

Phayre’s Langur (which previously included two subspecies, T. p. phayrei and T. p. shanicus) was believed to have a wide distribution in south and southeast Asian countries until a genetic and morphological study in 2020 revised the taxonomy. Three species are now recognised: Shan State Langur (T. melamera), Phayre’s Langur (T. phayrei), and Popa Langur (T. popa) [2].

Trachypithecus phayrei map

Distribution of Phayre's Langur and closely related species 

© Roos et al. 2020 [1]

 

IUCN Conservation Status

Endangered

 

The Phayre’s Langur faces a wide array of anthropogenic threats including habitat loss, fragmentation, hunting, roadkill, electrocution, and trading for local zoos [1]. Hence, the population size is small and declining fast. Six mixed-evergreen forests in northeast Bangladesh support a population of about 400 individuals [1]. In India, the Phayre’s Langur population was estimated at ca. 1,200 individuals, while there is no reliable number in Myanmar yet [1].

 

Seeing this Species

In Bangladesh, the Phayre’s Langur can be found in six protected areas (Lawachara National Park, Rema-Kalenga Wildlife Sanctuary, Satchari National Park, Kaptai National Park, Fashiakhali Wildlife Sanctuary and Teknaf Wildlife Sanctuary) and a few forest reserves in the Sylhet and Chittagong Divisions [1].

Lawachara National Park, Bangladesh

Lawachara National Park is located in Kamalganj Upazila, Moulvibazar District in the northeastern region of Bangladesh. It is about 160 km northeast of the capital Dhaka and 60 km from Sylhet bordering the Indian states of Assam and Tripura. The nearest town, Sremangal is only 8 km from the Lawachara National Park. Lawachara National Park is part of the West-Bhanugach Reserve Forest, and covers an area of 12.5 square km of mixed evergreen forests. A road and a railway traversed the forests, and two villages of the Khasia ethnic group live inside the National Park. Numerous sandy-bedded streams crisscrossed the forests. 

The National Park is one of the remaining strongholds of many globally threatened primates, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and butterflies in Bangladesh. Here, there are at least 129 individuals of Phayre’s Langurs and over 40 individuals of Western Hoolock Gibbons. In the early morning, there is a good chance to spot, watch and photograph these primates from publicly accessible trails. Phayre’s Langurs are often seen near the railway track in the National Park.

Probability of success:  ◆ ◆ ◆ ◇ ◇

 

Overlapping species:

  • Western Hoolock Gibbon (Hoolock hoolock)

  • Northern Pig-tailed Macaque (Macaca leonina)

  • Rhesus Macaque (Macaca mulatta)

  • Bengal Slow Loris (Nycticebus bengalensis)

  • Capped Langur (Trachypithecus pileatus)

Other sites:

Rema-Kalenga Wildlife Sanctuary, Bangladesh

Patharia Hill Reserve Forest, Bangladesh

Satchari National Park, Bangladesh

Local contacts: Tanvir Ahmed (Phayre's Langur Conservation Initiative in Bangladesh)

Trachypithecus phayrei habitat in Satchari NP in Bangladesh_Tanvir Ahmed.jpg
Trachypithecus phayrei in Rajkandhi Reserve Forest, Bangladesh_Tanvir Ahmed.jpg

Primate watching

© Tanvir Ahmed

Rajkandhi Reserve Forest, northeast Bangladesh

Habitat of Phayre's Langur in Bangladesh

© Tanvir Ahmed

Satchari National Park, northeast Bangladesh

References

[1] Chetry D. and Ahmed T., 2021. Trachypithecus phayrei. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2021: e.T175862145A175862149.

[2] Roos C. et al., 2020. Mitogenomic phylogeny of the Asian colobine genus Trachypithecus with special focus on Trachypithecus phayrei (Blyth, 1847) and description of a new species. Zoological Research, 41(6): 656-669.

 

Contributed by Tanvir Ahmed

Page last updated: 3 July 2022