Trachypithecus selangorensis | Selangor Silvered Langur

 

Good spot: KL Forest Eco-Park, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

A juvenile Selangor Silvered Langur

© Andie Ang

KL Forest Eco-Park, Malaysia

© Andie Ang

KL Forest Eco-Park, Malaysia

Newly completed canopy boardwalk [signage]

© Andie Ang

KL Forest Eco-Park, Malaysia

A primate-watcher with a Long-tailed Macaque

© Andie Ang

KL Forest Eco-Park, Malaysia

Typical orange color of infants

© Adam Hermans

Kuala Selangor Nature Park, Malaysia

Primatology

 

Taxonomy & Occurrence

Trachypithecus selangorensis is a monotypic species (no subspecies). It is found in western peninsular Malaysia in the states of Johor, Kedah, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Perak, and Selangor.

 

IUCN Conservation Status

Near Threatened (assessed under the subspecies T. cristatus cristatus)

 

This species has undergone several taxonomic changes. Traditionally, all silvered langurs were classified as subspecies of Trachypithecus cristatus [1]. But following morphological and genetic data, some subspecies were elevated to species, consisting of T. auratus, T. cristatus, T. germaini and T. margarita [2-5]. As of the 2008 IUCN assessment at that point [6], there were two subspecies within T. cristatus: 1) T. cristatus cristatus on the west coast of peninsular Malaysia, Borneo, and Sumatra, and 2) T. cristatus vigilans only on the Natuna Islands of Indonesia. But in the same year, additional genetic information [7] was used to separate the silvered langurs on the western peninsular Malaysia (T. cristatus selangorensis) from the rest in Borneo, Sumatra, and surrounding islands (T. cristatus cristatus). As of 2013, the silvered langurs on the western peninsular Malaysia have been elevated to species level, being the Selangor Silvered Langur (T. selangorensis), while the rest remains the same [8].

 

All this can be quite confusing because outwardly, they look similar.

Seeing this Species

 

In general, leaf monkeys (Presbytis, Semnopithecus, Trachypithecus) are shy and rather skittish. They are also primarily arboreal (tree-dwelling), so if they decide to stay away from you, it only takes a couple of leaps into the forest and you would lose them. The Selangor Silvered Langurs can be considered 'easier' to see compared to the other species of leaf monkeys as they seem less afraid of humans. They are also more numerous relative to threatened species.     

 

KL Forest Eco-Park, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Previously called the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve, it underwent a name change to the KL Forest Eco-Park in 2009. Local citizens, however, will still call it by its old name. It can be considered the remaining 'green lung' in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. 

 

The KL Forest Eco-Park is small, covering an area less than 0.1 sq. km. No entrance fee is required. Several trail systems are available, all pretty easy. The Long-tailed Macaques were spotted at the Bamboo Walk, which is a tiled pathway with huge bamboos on the side. On the other hand, I did not get to see the Selangor Silvered Langurs in the forest. Exiting the Eco-Park, the Kuala Lumpur Tower can be seen clearly, majestically as one of the tallest telecommunications towers in the world. Pavements at the edge of the Eco-Park are lined with lamp posts, each with a banner showing an image of a [perhaps] wildlife enthusiast, binoculars over the neck, and a Long-tailed Macaque. Expecting to see more of the macaques by the road, I was surprised to see the Selangor Silvered Langurs, just 5 m into the forest from the railings! 

 

The Selangor Silvered Langurs there were not particularly afraid of humans, although they kept a safe distance. They were extremely active in the morning, so I was able to enjoy observing a whole suite of behaviors: feeding, playing, grooming etc.. This troop of ~20 Selangor Silvered Langurs was believed to be translocated from nearby Kuala Selangor Nature Park [see below 'Other sites'] due to overpopulation. They appeared to be doing well in the Eco-Park as well, with a few small juveniles observed.

 

Probability of Success: ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◇

 

Overlapping species: Long-tailed Macaque

 

Other sites:

Kuala Selangor Nature Park, Kuala Selangor, Malaysia

The Nature Park is located in the small town of Kuala Selangor, just about 70 km northwest of Kuala Lumpur. By bus from the Medan Pasar Bus Hub in Kuala Lumpur, it takes only 2-3 hours to get in to the Stesen Bas Bandar Malawati [bus station Bandar Malawati] in Kuala Selangor. From there, it is a 2 km walk (or 4 min vehicle ride) to the entrance of the Nature Park.  

 

The Nature Park is just outisde of the center of town, by the mouth of the Selangor River. It is small, only 2.4 sq. km, and a blend of secondary forest and wetland. As such, the Selangor Silvered Langurs can be relatively easy to find. Look for them in the trees along the park's edge. The langurs, using the power lines as vines, wander into town to feed on young leaves. They move through the trees towering over suburban housing and are perfect for watching as they are so at ease with people.  

 

The main park surrounds a (partially man-made) estuary and was established in large part to protect the 156 species of birds found here, perhaps most notably the Milky Stork.

 

Nearby Kampung Kuantan is famous for the synchrozied displays of fireflies along the river.

 

Overlapping species: Long-tailed Macaque

 

Local contacts

A fishing village

© Adam Hermans

Kuala Selangor, Malaysia

A troop heading into town

© Adam Hermans

Kuala Selangor, Malaysia

References

[1] Napier P.H., 1985. Catalogue of primates in the Brititsh Museum (Natural History) and elsewhere in the British Isles. Part III: family Cercopithecidae, subfamily Colobinae. British Museum (Natural History), London.

[2] Weitzel V. and Groves C.P., 1985. The nomenclature and taxonomy of the colobine monkeys of Java. International Journal of Primatology 6: 399–409.

[3] Groves C.P., 2001. Primate taxonomy. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington.

[4] Nadler T., Walter L. and Roos C., 2005. Molecular evolution, systematics and distribution of the taxa within the silvered langur species group (Trachypithecus [cristatus]) in Southeast Asia. Der Zoologische Garten (NF) 75: 238–247.

[5] Roos C., Vu Ngoc Thanh, Walter L. and Nadler T., 2007. Molecular systematics of Indochinese primates. Vietnamese Journal of Primatology 1: 41–53.

[6] Nijman V. and Meijaard E., 2008. Trachypithecus cristatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 05 January 2015.

[7] Roos C., Nadler T. & Walter L., 2008. Mitochondrial phylogeny, taxonomy and biogeography of the silvered langur species group (Trachypithecus cristatus). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 47: 629-636.

[8] Mittermeier R.A., Rylands A.B. and Wilson D.E., 2013. Handbook of the mammals of the world: primates. Vol. 3, Lynx Edicons, Barcelona.

 

 

 

Page Last Updated: 11 February 2019

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