Poaching For Crude Medicines Continues To Threaten Nilgiri Langurs

A Nilgiri Langur in the Anamalai Hills
Ramki Sreenivasan
The Nilgiri Langurs are endemic to the southern part of the Western Ghats from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu through Kerala up to the Coorg Hills in Karnataka.

Poaching continues to be the key threat for Nilgiri Langurs, where their pelt, organs, blood and flesh are used to produce crude medicines and aphrodisiacs. This was highlighted by the National Studbook on Nilgiri Langurs, released recently by the Central Zoo Authority and the Wildlife Institute of India. Prior to the Wildlife Protect Act, 1972, these crude medicines were widely available and even advertised. Karinkorangu Rasayanam was one of the leading products at that time. With the act and campaigning by the Kerala forest department, some desirable results were seen. However, poaching continues to go on and the medicines are often available on the sly. Habitat destruction, primarily due to the construction of hydroelectric projects are also another threat.

The Nilgiri Langur is vulnerable both at the national (ZSI, 1994) and global (IUCN, 2000) levels. These langurs are threatened due to severe pressure from poaching for supposedly medicinal properties of its meat and habitat destruction for timber and firewood extraction.

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