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The distribution and population of the white-headed langur Trachypithecus poliocephalus leucocephalus Verbreitung und Bestand des Weisskopflangur Trachypithecus poliocephalus leucocephalus

The distribution and population of the white-headed langur Trachypithecus poliocephalus leucocephalus Verbreitung und Bestand des Weisskopflangur Trachypithecus poliocephalus leucocephalus

Zoologische Garten. November; 735: 324-335

Endemic to the southern Chinese province of Guangxi, the White-headed langur is one of the world's 25 most endangered primate taxa. The systematic position of this species has been debated for a long time. New DNA-evidence shows a close relationship on the subspecies level to the Vietnamese Cat Ba or Golden-headed langur, contrary to the often-supposed relationship to the Francois' langur. The current population of the White-headed langur is estimated to be only 700 to 800 individuals, which comprise four isolated subpopulations. Historically, hunting was the greatest threat to the langurs, dramatically decreasing the population and eradicating some of the sub-populations. The animals were used in preparation of traditional Chinese medicine. Currently, the greatest threat to the White-headed langur is fragmentation and destruction of habitat. The conversion of habitat into agricultural land is a serious threat for the remaining populations. The refuges of the last populations have been declared as protected areas, but the local communes retain the right to use the land. In Chongzuo County, Guangxi province, a protected area was established and created as an "Ecopark", with considerable expense. The area should serve as an example for the conservation of highly endangered species, offering possibilities for both scientific research and tourism. Extensive education and support for the surrounding communes, e. g. with the introduction and installation of biogas systems, has essentially reduced the pressure to the nature reserve. The development of the nature reserve is an optimistic example for the conservation of a highly endangered species, but it also shows the necessity for extremely high personal, educational, and financial expenditure.

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