Some 3,000 Indochinese silvered langurs – monkeys native to Southeast Asia and considered endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – are believed to be living in the eastern part of Cambodia.
Wildlife Conservation Society country director Ken Serey Rotha told The Post on Sunday that most of the silvered langurs in Cambodia live in Keo Seima, Lumphat and Srepok wildlife sanctuaries.
The langurs gravitate towards the Sekong and Srepok rivers, he said.
“Globally, the population of the silvered langur has decreased by around 50 per cent in recent decades. In Cambodia, although their numbers are also decreasing because of some threatening factors, the population is still quite high.
“It is an endangered species, but in Cambodia, due to the country’s many favourable conditions, there are more than 3,000,” Serey Rotha said.
He said silvered langurs eat fruits and leaves, and in the process transport plant seeds to different areas, thus promoting plant growth in forests.
He said the most threatening factor to the silvered langurs is their loss of shelter due to wildlife sanctuaries being transformed into agricultural and agro-industrial land.
Forest fires also present a threat to the monkeys, as well as hunters who sell them to be eaten or used in traditional medicines.
Serey Rotha called on farmers and other citizens to help prevent forest fires and the poisoning and hunting of the silvered langurs.
“According to an annual report, the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary is home to 1,000 to 3,000 silvered langurs. Thus, if we add this number to those living in other wildlife sanctuaries, such as Prek Toal and other areas in Preah Vihear province, there could be more than 3,000 of them,” he said.
The BirdLife International Cambodia Programme has noticed the presence of silvered langurs as well.
The organisation said: “They were found in moderately dense forests and forests along the rivers. In early April, about 90 silvered langurs were noted by the rangers at Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary and a number of hunting nets and traps were seized.”
It said threatening factors to the silvered langurs were the loss of forests along the rivers that provide them shelter and hunters using nets to snare them.
BirdLife programme director Bou Vorsak said his team used to see silvered langurs along the Sekong River, Srepok River as well as in Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary.
“Our organisation considers bird conservation our primary purpose, but we also look after and monitor other wildlife and forests in the areas we conserve as well.
“Our organisation is working at the Lumphat and Siam Pang wildlife sanctuaries, and we always catch glimpses of the silvered langurs,” he said.