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Golden Langurs

The distribution of golden langurs (Trachypithecus geei) is limited to a small area of western Assam in northeast India and Bhutan between the rivers Manas (India) in the east, Sunkoshi in the west, and Brahmaputra in the south. It is one of the most seriously endangered primate species of the subcontinent.

It probably evolved in geographic isolation on the western side of the Manas river. On the other side of the river is its close cousin, the capped langur. No golden langurs are found on the river's eastern side.

A comparative analysis based on satellite images taken in 1988 and 1998 showed a 50% loss of original golden langur habitat. An average group size of 8.2 (range from 4.0 to 22.0) individuals was recorded. A total of 1,064 individuals were counted living in 130 groups. The sex ratio was 1.9-2.5 adult females for each adult male. Most of the groups had only one adult male.

The diet of the langur - a vegetarian - is composed mainly of mature leaves, but it also eats young leaves and fruit.

During the monsoon season, fruit may comprise up to 50 percent of the langur's diet. Feeding strategy is adapted to cope with seasonal food scarcity. Langurs seldom leave the trees, even to drink from streams. They take water from dew or rain drenched leaves. They live in troops of as many as 40.

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