‘Chasma Bandar’ population rising in Tripura despite loss of habitat

Agartala, Sep 05 (PTI):
Only chosen few are born bespectacled and they happen to be the Phayre’s leaf monkey or the species popularly known in the country as ‘Chasma Bandar’ (bespectacled monkey).
These shy, agile, deep forest dwellers are now threatened with extinction as humans are increasingly encroaching on their natural habitat.
According to International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Phayre’s leaf monkey is listed as endangered and its population is estimated to have more than halved over the last three generations (36 years, given a monkey generation length of 12 years), due to a combination of habitat loss and hunting. In India, it is a schedule 1 species under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
The leaf monkey derives its local name from the chalk-white patch around its black eyes, close to the bridge of its nose. The primates are general tree top dwellers and hardly descend even to drink water. They are named after Sir Arthur Purves Phayre, a British Indian Army officer who discovered the species.
They prefer to collect water from dew and rain drenched leaves and survives on fruits, flowers and leaves. When surprised they sound a guttural alarm.
The only other sound they make is a kind of squeal.
Tripura’s Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary is known as the abode of the prized leaf monkey. The central zoo authority of India has deemed Sipahijala wildlife sanctuary as a National breeding centre for bespectacled monkey, State Wild Life Warden, Nirad Baran Debnath told PTI.
The monkey which is also the state animal is spotted in north eastern states of Tripura, parts of Assam and Mizoram, neighbouring Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh, southwestern China, parts of Southeast Asia including Myanmar.
Even as the primate is dwindling in numbers elsewhere, their numbers are rising in Tripura. We have noticed about a two percent rise of the Phary’s langur in Tripura. A recent study in Sepahijhala concluded that seven troops, comprising 100 individuals, were present in the sanctuary , Debnath said.
Interestingly, the monkey, which is folivore also has in recent years developed a habit of thriving on rubber leaves. Tripura has a large number of rubber plantations.
The areas under natural forest are shrinking gradually due to human encroachment and the monkeys, which move in herds, often raid horticultural gardens and even kitchen gardens for jackfruits, drumsticks, carrots and other vegetables. They also changed their nature of eating due to habitat loss and developed the habit of eating rubber leaves and its twigs , the official said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button