The Nilgiri langur (Semnopithecus johnii ) is a langur (a type of Old World monkey). This primate has glossy black fur on its body and golden brown fur on its head. It is similar in size and long-tailed like the gray langurs. Females have a white patch of fur on the inner thigh. It typically lives in troops of nine to ten monkeys. Its diet consists of fruits, shoots and leaves. The species is classified as vulnerable due to habitat destruction and poaching for its fur and flesh, the latter believed to have aphrodisiac properties.
Nilgiri langurs are primates that belong to an Old World monkey family. These animals have glossy black fur on their body and golden brown fur on their head. Females in this species have a white patch of fur on the inner thigh.
Nilgiri langurs are found in the Nilgiri Hills of the Western Ghats in South India. Their range also includes Kodagu in Karnataka, Kodayar Hills in Tamil Nadu, and many other hilly areas in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. These primates live in tropical moist forests.
Nilgiri langurs are arboreal and diurnal creatures. They are social and typically live in troops of nine to ten monkeys. Each troop may inlude several males and several females, one male and several females, or one or more solitary males. Nilgiri langurs are territorial and social status is very important especially for for males. The dominant female shows dominance mainly by choosing preferred feeding and sleeping sites. The dominant male will show dominance in the traveling direction and timing of the troop, and also in freedom of choice in daily life. Nilgiri langurs spend majority of their time foraging. The rest time they spend playing, grooming, chasing, watching or fighting. These animlas communicate mainly through vocalizations but also use tactile, and visual signals. Some visual expressions include a submissive head shaking, a threatening open mouth and a friendly play invitation. Tactile communication includes embracing, licking, biting, stroking, and slapping.
Little is known about the mating system in Nilgiri langurs. Their breeding season ocuurs year-round. Females give birth to a single infant and the gestation period is assumed to last around 200 days. Newborn babies weigh around 0.5 kg. The mother protects and nurses her offspring almost a year. She will carry they baby clinged to her belly and cover in shelter from rain. At one year of age when the infant is weand it becomes completely independent from the mother. Until this time it spends most of the time with mother or with other close females in troop, and rarely may contact with adult males.
Main threats to Nilgiri langurs are poaching and the loss of the habitat. These animals are hunted for their fur and flesh. Their skin is used for making drums and other parts of the body are used for meat and in traditional medicine. This species loses its habitat due to mining, dams, crop plantations, fragmentation, deliberate fires, human settlement, road kills, storms/flooding. Nilgiri langurs are also used in local trade for pets.
According to the IUCN Red List, the total population size of Nilgiri langurs is less than 20,000 individuals. This species’ numbers are decreasing and it is currently classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List.
Nilgiri langurs consume different species of plants in addition to fruits, nuts, and seeds thus playing an important role in their ecosystem as seed dispersers.