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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.

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Photo credit—Kado Rinchen

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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.

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Correspondence to Phuntsho Thinley.

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Thinley, P., Norbu, T., Rajaratnam, R. et al. Conservation threats to the endangered golden langur (Trachypithecus geei, Khajuria 1956) in Bhutan. Primates 61, 257–266 (2020).

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