Several species of primates are native to Bangladesh. Of them, Phayre’s leaf monkey, also known as Phayre’s langur, is a spectacular one. The monkey is spectacle-faced. Its grey coat with blue-rimmed white patches around its eyes readily separates it from any other primate species. Its love for leaf has put it in a particular group called leaf monkeys. Phayre’s langur is found only in Southeast Asia, including Bangladesh, eastern India, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. The IUCN considers it a critically endangered species because of its total dependence on forests, which are rapidly disappearing.
In Bangladesh, these monkeys can be found in the forests of Moulvibazar and Habihanj — for example, Satchhori, Lathitila and Lawachhara forests — and in the hills of Chattogram. However, these monkeys are facing adverse situation in their last few remaining habitats in Bangladesh. It is a matter of great regret that recently a Phayre’s langur had been found dead in Lathitila forest, which had bruises from electrocution in its body. It was probably a mother monkey because onlookers reportedly spotted a baby monkey close to the dead monkey.
The accidental death of the monkey could have been avoided if the authorities concerned had completed the work of adding cover to the electric wires of this reserved forest area. In this area, monkeys often get electrocuted while climbing the wires. Lathitila Reserved Forest in Moulvibazar was supposed to be a safe haven for animals. But these rare monkeys are often being electrocuted in this area. We urge the authorities to look into this issue seriously and add covers to the unprotected electric wires of Lathitila forest as soon as possible.
Jeba Tasnim Binta Alamgir,
Student of University of Dhaka, Dhaka,