Types of monkey -

Golden Headed Langur Monkey

Trachypithecus poliocephalus poliocephalus

golden headed Langur monkey

The golden-headed langur, Trachypithecus p.poliocephalus, is possibly the most threatened of the Asian colobines. This sub-species just appears on the Island of Cat Ba in the Gulf of Tonkin, Northeastern Vietnam. The Cat Ba Archipelago is in the well-known Ha Long Bay, a remarkable karst establishment, which was raided by the sea. The golden-headed langur resides in humid forests on limestone karst hills with the other monkeys from the T. francoisi group, including the Cat Ba langur and its nearest family relation, the white-headed langur, T.p. leucocephalus Tan, 1955, in southern China, exhibits stern behavioral adjustments to their karst habitat.

No methodical or trustworthy statistics exist on the historical density of the langur population on Cat Ba Island. Testimonies from native people indicate that the whole island of Cat Ba (140 km2) and several minature offshore islands were densely populated by langurs earlier. Hunting has been the sole cause for the dramatic and rapid population decline from an estimated 2,400-2,700 in the 1960s to only 53 individuals by 2000. The langurs were poached mainly for trade in traditional medicines. Since the implementation of strict protection measures towards the end of 2000, the langur population on Cat Ba Island increased to current 60-70 individuals.

While the evolution of the population is reassuring, the general position of the sub-species is very dangerous. Due to the environmental destruction, the lasting population is separated into seven remote sub-populations, possibly just four of them are males, while the others are all-female groups, hence not in social breeding troops. Therefore, the overall reproduction in this species is low. Ever since the highest birth rates in 2003, reproduction of the Cat Ba Langur has deteriorated at 1-2 young broods each year.

Cat Ba Island and the neighbouring area are well-known both nationally and internationally for their value to biodiversity conservation. Cat Ba National Park was found in 1986. It covers more than half of the main island at present. In 2004, the Cat Ba Archipelago (some 1,500-2,000 large and small islands, cliffs and rocks) was nominated a UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Reserve.

Regardless of this, nature and wildlife protection on Cat Ba Island is lacking, although knowledge, cooperation and dedication with the indigenous communities are gradually rising. Nevertheless, attempts to successfully conserve the langurs and their environments are confronted with huge barriers because of the necessity to enhance the resident community's ambitions for growth, and because of the gradual rising human population, as well as constant, serious deficits in law enforcement. Like other parts of the region, poaching is motivated by more and more appealing profitable rewards in pleasing the enormous local and regional request for wildlife and animal parts. The harshest defence system imaginable is essential for the endurance of all the creatures and other species on Cat Ba that are, similar to the langurs, pursued by the Asian wildlife industry.

In 2000, a conservation plan for the golden-headed langur on Cat Ba was introduced by the Zoologische Gesellschaft für Artenund Populationsschutz (ZGAP), München, and Allwetterzoo Münster, Germany. The purpose is to offer protection, decrease population destruction, and add to the conservation of the biodiversity on Cat Ba Island in cooperation with Vietnamese authorities.


  • Groves, C. P. 2001. Primate Taxonomy. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC.
  • Nadler, T. and Ha Thang Long. 2000. The Cat Ba Langur:Past, Present and Future. The Definitive Report on Trachypithecus poliocephalus-the World's RarestPrimate. Frankfurt Zoological Society, Hanoi. 104pp.

More Monkeys