Conserving the Himalayan Grey Langur, Semnopithecus ajax, An Endangered, Endemic Species of Primate
Semnopithecus ajax in Gajnoi, Chamba Copyright Bipan Chand Rathore.
Himalayan Langur crop raiding.
Semnopithecus ajax with infant.
|Chamba||India||Indian Sub-continent, Primates||12 Mar 2012|
The Himalayan Grey Langur, Semnopithecus ajax, is an endemic, Endangered and Alliance for Zero Extinction recognized species confined to the narrow valley of Chamba in western Himalaya in Himachal Pradesh state of India. The Himalayan Grey Langur is severely threatened with habitat degradation, deforestation, hunting practises, expansion of commercial horticulture, tourism, encroachment, and poaching; data deficiency being the prime threat. With occupancy range of less than 500 km2 and a small population of about 250 mature adults such threats raise significant concerns on the viability of the species. Little conservation effort is in place in Chamba and no conservation actor is involved in the study or conservation of Semnopithecus ajax.
The project aims to address such conservation issues confronted by the langur by establishing a long term participatory stakeholder conservation initiative at Chamba, to benefit the langur and all threatened wildlife in the region. Given the point endemicity of the primate, the lack of information and the gravity of threats, the project will compile baseline data, current status on the ground such as its distribution, threat status, and relationship with humans, resources shared or vied for with humans, and the community’s general perception of Semnopithecus ajax and conservation. This information will help develop a strong outreach program to aid the community and local stakeholders in understanding the importance of conservation of Semnopithecus ajax and its habitat. The data will help strategize conservation policies and strategies to bring about a conservation initiative wholly managed and monitored by the local stakeholders.
The project also aims to deliver popular and scientific articles and publish the outcomes in both local and international scientific journals. Other prospective publications include a Network Directory, Policy Document and Guidelines manual to help develop the project further and therefore facilitate further action in the region. The project is a pioneering initiative and encompasses some research and will initiate conservation action, and help the government in establishing funds for the long term conservation of Semnopithecus ajax. The project will serve as a case study to provide a framework to achieve the 2020 CBD targets by India.