Illegal hunting rampant
The female primate was allegedly shot dead by local villagers at the foot of a hillside at Pantai Tengah here as it was foraging for food, with its babies in tow.
An expatriate, who has made Langkawi his home for many years, related how he had been been hearing gunshots almost daily and finally decided to check it out one evening in late January.
The foreigner, who wished to be known only as Mike, said he was shocked when he stumbled upon three men, one of whom was armed with a new 16-gauge shotgun, dragging two injured baby langur with tree roots tied around their neck.
"The baby langur were screaming and the men were shocked to see me.
"I grabbed the baby langur after they told me that the animals were pests and caused damage to their newly-planted rubber sapplings."
Mike said the men allowed him to take the babies which he later sent to a veterinary clinic on the island.
One of the babies died on the same day while the second one is now being cared for by an animal lover.
The killing of the langur, also known as "spectacled leaf monkey" for the unmistakable white patches around their eyes, has sparked concern that hunting the species, which is totally banned in Langkawi, is becoming rampant on the island.
Residents claimed to have heard gunshots in areas like Pantai Tengah and Pantai Kok, despite a hunting ban on the island, which has been declared a national eco-park.
Local conservationist Irshad Mubarak, also known as Junglewalla, said the authorities could easily track down the culprits as there were only a handful licensed firearms holders on the island.
"They are either private licence holders or Rela members so I don't see why they cannot be tracked down.
"I hope there will be more enforcement as the fruiting season has started in Langkawi. More langur may be killed when they start raiding the fruit orchards," said Irshad.
Malaysian Nature Society Langkawi chairman Eric Sinnaya said they had recently teamed up with relevant departments including the Langkawi Development Authority, the district council and the Wildlife and National Parks Department to form a conservation team.
"By next month, the team can help identify and nab the culprits."
Meanwhile, Kedah Wildlife and National Parks department director Rahim Ahmad said they were investigating the allegation but had yet to detain any suspects.
"We have stepped up surveillance and enforcement in areas where the hunting activity is said to be taking place."
FAST FACTS — DUSKY LEAF MONKEYS
THE dusky leaf monkey, which is also known as the spectacled langur or spectacled leaf monkey (Trachypithecus obscurus), is a species of primate found mainly in Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand.
IT is a shy, interesting-looking creature with large white circles around each eye, giving these little primates the appearance of sporting eyeglasses.
IN addition to white circles around each eye, the it also has white skin surrounding its mouth and a creamy white colour around its stomach.
ALTHOUGH the adult dusky leaf monkey is typically grey, or brown in colour, the babies are born bright orange.
DUSKY leaf monkeys typically live in troops that have an average of 10 to 17 animals.
DURING the day, the troop will splinter into smaller groups to forage through the trees.
DUSKY leaf monkeys prefer to feed on young leaves, although it will also eat fruits, preferably unripe, and flowers.
AT night, the monkeys will regroup, and then bed down for the evening in the trees.
PREDATORS of this species include snakes and large birds of prey.
HUMANS also hunt these monkeys and loss of habitat has become a problem for the dusky leaf monkey.
CURRENTLY, these monkeys are listed as “Near Threatened” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List.