The Golden Langurs of Umananda
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species lists Golden Langurs (Trachypithecus Geei) as an “endangered species" and says “it occurs only in Bhutan and north-eastern India (Assam). It is confined to a forest belt in western Assam between the Manas River in the east, Sankosh in the west and Brahmaputra in the south along the Indo-Bhutan border (Medhi et al. 2004). Its distribution in Bhutan is limited to the foothills of the Black Mountains (Srivastava et al. 2001). The total known range of this species in both India and Bhutan is less than 30,000 km2, and much of it is not suitable habitat (Srivastava et al. 2001). The population in India is highly fragmented, with the southern population completely separated from the northern population due to the effects of human activities.”
Umananda, the smallest island of the river Brahmaputra, which can be reached in just 10 minutes of boat journey from the ferry-ghats of Guwahati city, provides a unique opportunity to see this endangered species. The river-island attracts large number of visitors to its historic Siva temple that was constructed under the patronage of Ahom King Gadadhar Singha in 1694. Thanks to a devotee from Nepal, who donated to the temple authorities, two Golden Langurs- a male and a female—years back, Umananda now sustains population of five Golden Langurs—a male and four females showcasing a success story of conservation.
Photo and text – Dasarath Deka