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Country Insight: Spectacled monkeys facing extinction

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Jasim Majumder, Khagrachhari


Spectacled monkeys in Bangladesh is in the verge of extinction. Photo: Star



The Bengal spectacled monkeys locally known as Hanuman, is under the threat of extinction. In Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) forest, illegal deforestation is driving this species to extinction.

It is widely known that that a section of forest officials and staffs directly help loggers and timber traders to illegally cut down forests thus destroying their habitat. Hanuman is also known as gray langur and leaf monkey. According to the officials of Khagrachhari Divisional Forest Office (DFO) species authority identified it in 1797. Hanuman can be found at Gobamara under Manikchhari Upazila, Swarnatilla under Matiranga, Patachhara under Ramgorh Upazila in Khagrachhari district and Bagaihat reserve forest under Bagaichhari Upazila in Rangamati district.

Sindukchhari Upazilla Parishad Chairman Suinu Prue Chowdhury said that they used to seen large numbers of spectacled monkeys in the forest even 20 years ago but wild hanuman is now endangered due to deforestation and clearing bushy places for orchards. There are also a section of tribal people who netted Hanuman as food. Gyanendu Bikash Chakma, an indigenous leader at Bagaihat under Bagaichhari Upazila in Rangamati district said that forest land is squeezed by land grabbers.

Divisional Forest officer (DFO) Md Jahurul Alam said Hanuman’s scientific name is Semnopithecus Entellus. These are largely gray in color while some are yellowish with a black face and ears. The Bengal Hanuman is able to live in tropical, sub-tropical and mangrove forest. The species can also survive in artificial, terrestrial plantations and even in rural gardens. Regarding diet habit, DFO Jahurul Alam said that Hanuman mainly take fruits, fruit buds, shoots, roots, seeds, grasses, leaves of trees, herbs and grasses in the forest.

A female Hanuman usually gives birth to a single infant, although twins do occur. Most birth occurs at night. Infants spend their first week attaching themselves to their mothers’ chest and mostly just suckle or sleep. Around one and half month old infants vocalize more and in the following months, the infants are capable of quadrupedal locomotion and can walk, run and jump.

Denying forest officials involvement with vanishing forest that reducing wild animals, Jahirul said the wild hanuman is threatened due to residential & commercial development, hunting & trapping terrestrial animals, fire & fire suppression in CHT for jhum cultivation, raising agriculture & aquaculture, establishing housing & urban areas inside the forest areas, he added.


Spectacled monkey



Source: thedailystar





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