Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Conservation threats to the endangered golden langur (Trachypithecus geei, Khajuria 1956) in Bhutan


Threat assessment is critical to species conservation and management planning, because prior identification and assessment of key threats to conservation planning can assist in developing appropriate interventions or strategies. Comprehensive threat assessments are currently lacking for many threatened primates. In this paper, we classify and rank all direct threats to the endangered golden langur (Trachypithecus geei) in Bhutan in order to provide a practical guide to future conservation of the species. Information on threats was based on interviews with local people, discussion with field forestry staff, and social media interaction. We classified threats to golden langur habitats and populations, and ranked them using Miradi™, an analytical software for the adaptive management of conservation projects. We identified five habitat threats: (1) hydropower development, (2) road development, (3) housing development, (4) resource extraction, and (5) agricultural expansion. We also identified seven population threats: (1) electrocution, (2) road kill, (3) road injury, (4) dog kill, (5) retaliatory killing, (6) illegal pet keeping, and (7) hybridization with capped langurs. We rated the overall threat to golden langurs in Bhutan as ‘medium’. Hydropower, road, and housing development constituted ‘high’ impact, while agricultural expansion, resource extraction, electrocution, and road kill had ‘medium’ impact; the remaining threats had ‘low’ impact. To immediately mitigate threats to golden langurs, we recommend: (a) installing speed limit signage and speed breakers with strict enforcement of speed limits; (b) installing insulated electric cables and fencing around power transformers; and (c) reducing and restraining domestic dog populations.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1

Photo credit—Kado Rinchen

Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7


  1. Chapman CA, Peres CA (2001) Primate conservation in the new millennium: the role of scientists. Evol Anthropol 10:16–33

  2. Chetry R, Chetry D (2009) Report on the golden langur, Presbytus entellus. Gibbon Conservation Centre, Assam

  3. Chetry D, Chetry R, Ghosh K, Bhattacharjee P (2010) Status and conservation of golden langur in Chakrashila Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam, India. Prim Conserv 2010:81–87

  4. Chetry R, Chetry D, Bhattacharjee P (2019) Golden langur: Trachypithecus geei Khajuria, 1956, India and Bhutan 2018. In: Schwitzer C et al. (eds) Primates in Peril: The World’s 25 most endangered primates 2018–2020. IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group (PSG), International Primatological Society (IPS), Global Wildlife Conservation (GWCI), and Bristol Zoological Society (BZS), Washington, USA, pp. 62–65

  5. Choudhury A (2001) Primates in northeast India: an overview of their distribution and conservation status. ENVIS Bull Wildlife Protect Areas 1:92–101

  6. Choudhury A (2002) Golden langur Trachypithecus geei threatened by habitat fragmentation. Zoo’s Print J 17:699–703

  7. Choudhury A (2008) Primates of Bhutan and observations of hybrid langurs. Prim Conserv 23:65–73. https://doi.org/10.1896/052.023.0107

  8. Das J, Medhi R, Molur S (2008) Trachypithecus geei. The IUCN red list of threatened species 2008: e.T22037A9348940. Accessed 25 July 2019

  9. Dietz LA, Brown M, Swaminathan V (2010) Increasing the impact of conservation projects. Am J Primatol 72:425–440

  10. Dorji S, Rajaratnam R, Vernes K (2012) The vulnerable red panda Ailurus fulgens in Bhutan: distribution, conservation status and management recommendations. Oryx 46:536–543. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605311000780

  11. Dorji S, Rajaratnam R, Vernes K (2019) Mammal richness and diversity in a Himalayan hotspot: the role of protected areas in conserving Bhutan’s mammals. Biodivers Conserv 28:3277. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-019-01821-9

  12. Estrada A, Garber PA, Rylands AB et al (2017) Impending extinction crisis of the world’s primates: why primates matter. Sci Adv 3:e1600946

  13. FRMD (Forest Resources Management Division) (2016) National Forest Inventory Report (Volume I) vol I. Forest Resources Management Division, Department of Forests and Park Services, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Thimphu, Bhutan

  14. Gates JF (1996) Habitat alteration, hunting and the conservation of folivorous primates in African forests. Aust J Ecol 21:1–9

  15. Gompper ME (2014) The dog-human-wildlife interface: assessing the scope of the problem. In: Gompper ME (ed) Free-ranging dogs and wildlife conservation. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 9–54

  16. Gosh S (2009) Report on the distribution and population status of golden langur (Trachypithecus geei) in Bodoland Territorial Council, Assam. Assam, India, India

  17. Hill CM (2002) Primate conservation and local communities—ethical issues and debates. Am Anthropol 104:1184–1194. https://doi.org/10.1525/aa.2002.104.4.1184

  18. Home C, Bhatnagar YV, Vanak AT (2018) Canine conundrum: domestic dogs as an invasive species and their impacts on wildlife in India. Anim Conserv 21:275–282. https://doi.org/10.1111/acv.12389

  19. Horwich RH, Das R, Bose A (2013) Conservation and the current status of the golden langur in Assam, India, with reference to Bhutan. Prim Conserv 27:77–83. https://doi.org/10.1896/052.027.0104

  20. Macdonald DW, Burnham D, Hinks AE, Wrangham R (2012) A problem shared is a problem reduced: seeking efficiency in the conservation of felids and primates. Folia Primatol 83:171–215

  21. Medhi R, Chetry D, Bhattacharjee P, Patiri B (2004) Status of Trachypithecus geei in a rubber plantation in Western Assam, India. Int J Primatol 25:1331–1337

  22. Nath BG, Chakraborty A (2013) Mortality pattern in non human primates in Assam, India. Vet World 6:39–41. https://doi.org/10.5455/vetworld.2013.39-41

  23. National Biodiversity Centre (NBC) (2017) Biodiversity statistics of Bhutan 2017: a preliminary baseline. National Biodiversity Centre, Thimphu

  24. National Statistics Bureau (NSB) (2017) Population and housing census of Bhutan 2017. National Statistics Bureau, Thimphu

  25. Nekaris K, Starr CR (2015) Conservation and ecology of the neglected slow loris: priorities and prospects. Endanger Species Res 28:87–95. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00674

  26. Nijman V, Nekaris K, Donati G, Bruford M, Fa J (2011) Primate conservation: measuring and mitigating trade in primates. Endanger Species Res 13:159–161

  27. Phuntsho T, Tshering J (2014) Black-necked crane (Grus nigricollis) in Bhutan: current population status and conservation initiatives. Zool Res 35:10–19

  28. Rao M, Johnson A, Bynum N (2007) Assessing threats in conservation planning and management. Lessons Conserv 1:44–71

  29. Rinzin K, Tenzin T, Robertson I (2016) Size and demography pattern of the domestic dog population in Bhutan: implications for dog population management and disease control. Prev Vet Med 126:39–47. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2016.01.030

  30. Roy D, Nagarajan R (2018) Biology, ecology, and conservation of golden langur, Trachypithecus geei. In: Sivaperuman C, Venkataraman K (eds) Indian Hotspots. Springer, Singapore, pp 251–283

  31. Srivastava A (2006) Ecology and conservation of the golden langur, Trachypithecus geei, in Assam, India. Prim Conserv 21:163–170. https://doi.org/10.1896/0898-6207.21.1.163

  32. Srivastava A, Biswas J, Das J, Bujarbarua P (2001) Status and distribution of golden langurs (Trachypithecus geei) in Assam, India. Am J Primatol 55:15–23

  33. Thinley P, Norbu T, Dorji R, Lham D, Wangchuk S (2016) Status and distribution of Central Himalayan Langur Semnopithecus schistaceus (Hodgson, 1840) in Bhutan. RNR Research and Development Centre at Yusipang, Department of Forests and Park Services, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Thimphu, Bhutan

  34. Thinley P, Norbu T, Rajaratnam R et al (2019a) Population abundance and distribution of the endangered golden langur (Trachypithecus geei, Khajuria 1956) in Bhutan. Primates 60:437–448. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10329-019-00737-w

  35. Thinley P, Rajaratnam R, Tighe M, Vernes K, Norbu T, Dorji R, Tenzin S (2019b) Understanding primate–human interaction: socioeconomic correlates of local awareness and attitude toward the endangered golden langur Trachypithecus geei (Khajuria, 1956) in Bhutan. Am J Primatol 81:e22995. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajp.22995

  36. TNC (The Nature Conservancy) (2007) Conservation action planning: developing strategies, taking action, and measuring success at any scale. Overview of basic practices. Nature Conservancy, Arlington

  37. Tshering K, Thinley P (2017) Assessing livestock herding practices of agro-pastoralists in western Bhutan: livestock vulnerability to predation and implications for livestock management policy. Pastoralism Res Policy Pract 7:5

  38. Wangchuk T (2005) The evolution, phylogeography, and conservation of the golden langur (Trachypithecus geei) in Bhutan. Doctoral dissertation, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

  39. Wangchuk T, Thinley P, Tshering K, Tshering C, Yonten D, Pema B, Wangchuk S (2004) A Field Guide to the Mammals of Bhutan. Royal Government of Bhutan, Thimphu, Bhutan

Download references


We are immensely thankful to the Department of Forests and Park Services (DoFPS) of the Royal Government of Bhutan for administrative approval and research funding. We especially thank the Director of the DoFPS, the Head Specialist of the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment Research, the Chief Forestry Officers of various field offices for their generous support through deputation of field staff for the survey. We owe our deepest gratitude to local people, forestry staff, and contributors on social media for their cooperation in threat identification and listing.

Author information

Correspondence to Phuntsho Thinley.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Thinley, P., Norbu, T., Rajaratnam, R. et al. Conservation threats to the endangered golden langur (Trachypithecus geei, Khajuria 1956) in Bhutan. Primates (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10329-019-00777-2

Download citation


  • Bhutan
  • Conservation threats
  • Endangered primate
  • Golden langur
  • Primate conservation
  • Species conservation plan