Kashmir Grey Langur, Dachigam National Park, Jammu & Kashmir

by Ramki Sreenivasan
Ramki Sreenivasan

Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'

Kashmir (or Dark-eyed Himalayan) Grey Langur is an endangered leaf-eating monkey. It has a restricted range that is vulnerable to anthropogenic pressures.

On a recent trip to Dachigam National Park, I encountered a large troupe of these langurs (~50) crossing the main road. I was intrigued with the morphology of the monkey and was keen to understand more. This note is a summary of some of the research studies on the animal.

Kashmir (or Dark-eyed Himalayan) Grey Langur (Semnopithecus ajax) is a species of leaf-eating monkey formerly considered as a subspecies of S. entellus. However, recent studies have confirmed its status as a separate species. It is endemic to the Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal regions of western Himalayas, where the ecosystem is vulnerable and susceptible to the impact of anthropogenic pressures. It is also reported from Pakistan and Nepal.

This recent study by Mehreen Khaleel establishes baseline information on distribution, habitat use, and feeding ecology of S. ajax across different habitats and land uses in the Kashmir region of the Indian Himalayas. It is known to occur between 1400 – 3400m in two broad habitat types — broadleaved deciduous and coniferous forests.

The species is listed as ‘Endangered’ as it is restricted in its range with an extent of occurrence of less than 5,000 sq km and an area of occupancy of less than 500 sq km. The species faces the following conservation threats: 1) conflict with humans, 2) habitat degradation, and 3) habitat loss.

References:
1. Thakur, DR. (2017). Semnopithecus ajax Pocock, 1928 a Critically Endangered Species Struggling for Space and Survival in Nature.
2. Khaleel, Mehreen (2018): Distribution, ecology and habitat use of the Himalayan gray langur, Semnopithecus ajax in Jammu and Kashmir, India



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