The Fear of Monkeys - The Best E-Zine on the Web for Politically Conscious WritingDelacour's Langur - Issue Twenty-Eight
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Delacour's Langur Delacour's Langur The Delacour's langur is a critically endangered species of lutung endemic to northern Vietnam. They inhabit open forest up to elevations of 328 m in terrain dominated by limestone karst and are folivorous, with about 78% of their diet consisting of foliage, although they also eat fruit, seeds, and flowers. Their fur is predominantly black, with white markings on the face and distinctive creamy-white fur over the rump and the outer thighs, while females also have a patch of pale fur in the pubic area. Like other closely related lutungs, they also have a crest of long, upright, hair over the forehead and crown. They typically measure from 57 to 62 cm in length, with a tail 82 to 88 mm long. Males weigh between 7.5 and 10.5 kg while the females are slightly smaller, weighing between 6.2 and 9.2 kg. They are diurnal, often spending the day sleeping in limestone caves, although they sleep on bare rocky surfaces if no caves are available. Despite living in forested habitats, Delacour's langurs are primarily terrestrial, only occasionally venturing into the trees. They swing by their hands when travelling through trees, and use their tails for balance when scrambling over steep rocky terrain. They live in troops of up to 30 individuals, often including a mix of males and females, although in more recent years, the typical group size seems to be much smaller, with only about 4 to 16 members each. Males defend the troop's territory from outsiders by standing watch on rocky outcrops; when potential rivals are spotted, the males in a troop initially try to intimidate them with loud hoots and visual displays, and only resort to chasing and fighting if this fails. Within the group, social bonds are maintained by grooming and play. Females give birth to a single young after a gestation period of 170 to 200 days. The young are born orange, with open eyes and strong arms. The fur begins to turn black at around four months, and the young are probably weaned at 19 to 21 months, when the mother is likely ready to breed again. Females reach sexual maturity at four years, and males at five years; the total life expectancy is around 20 years. Considered to be one of the world's most endangered primate species, they have declined in population rapidly in recent years. As of 2006, only 19 populations were known, following a dramatic decline in the total population of approximately 20% between 1999 and 2004. Since that time, we have lost two of those populations, and only those in the Van Long Nature Reserve may have enough members to remain viable. As of 2010, less than 250 animals were believed to remain in the wild, with nineteen in captivity. Classified as critically endangered by the IUCN, the primary threat to the species is hunting for traditional medicine, and loss of forest habitat through logging, unsustainable agricultural practices, and local development that is meant to serve the tourist trade.


Fowl Election


B. Craig Grafton

Lucy Goosey was running for office, the office of representative of the fowl and stock on Farmer Dell's farm. Through the years she had been in politics continually and had stuck her beak in everybody's business and therefore deemed herself worthy of this job. But the truth of the matter was that she was just lumpy, dumpy, frumpy and grumpy. An old woman who had trouble waddling around the barnyard.

Her opponent was Cocky Red Rooster. He had never held any office before but felt himself qualified because he had clawed and scratched his way to the top of the pecking order. And besides his comb was perfect. Perfectly kept in place all the time, never falling to the right or left, always standing straight up.

Farmer Dell would let the animals vote but he would count the ballots, or in other words, pick the winner, for no way was he going to let the animals rule his farm. The election was just for show, to let the animals think that they had a say in things.

Lucy Goosey's co-campaign managers were Terry Bull and Penny Henny. She diversified her staff, half being fowl, half being beast, one a male, one a female for it was the animal correct thing to do. One day when Famer Dell was out reaping the North Forty she sneaked into his house and called her managers to discuss election strategy with them.

First she spoke to Terry Bull. "We need to spread the rumor that Rooster never paid any taxes last year," she told him. "Everyone's got to pay taxes even if it's only chicken feed. Get on it," she ordered him knowing full well that Terry Bull would horribullize the rumor to the fullest extent possible.

She then gave Penny Henny the same instructions for she knew that Penny would run around like a chicken with her head cut off squawking, "Red Rooster pays no taxes. Red Rooster pays no taxes."

Farmer Dell lived a rural existence and thus his phone line was a party line. When the phone rang its shorts and long rings it rang at the residence of each party member on the line, the call being intended for the party whose number of rings had just rung out, that is two short rings followed by a long, three short rings or whatever. Myrtle Turtle was on the party line that Terry Bull was on and recognized the three short rings as a call for Terry Bull. She had no business picking up a call not for her, her ring was long short long, but she picked it up anyway, and listened in. She liked to listen in. She heard it all. Minutes later she also recognized the call to Penny Henny who was also on the same party line. She listened to that call too, for Myrtle Turtle was quite nosy even if she had a small one.

Myrtle had no vote in the election for she lived at the pond down the road. But she didn't like Lucy Goosey who always brought all those honking geese to her pond for their daily swim and gab sessions. She hated them because they were messy, always leaving goose feathers and goose crap everywhere. She knew if Lucy got elected, things would only get worse so she decided that she would use her new ill-gotten information to influence the election. She would sell it to Cocky Red Rooster so that he could use it to his advantage and get elected and she would get something of value from him in return. Rather than call him, for she knew that the line was not secure, she decided to walk to the farm and talk to Red Rooster in person. She got there a day and a half later and did so.

Cocky Red Rooster made a deal with Myrtle. He liked to make deals. It was the price to be paid for the info. So he promised her that when elected he would see to it that no barnyard animals would ever again invade Myrtle Turtle's territory, that is he would build her a fence around her pond.

Soon the rumor got out that Red Rooster had not paid any taxes and some animals believed it but Red Rooster didn't care. He had a plan. He was a clever individual. He knew what to do. He did not deny the rumor and in fact proudly admitted that he had paid no income tax, though he actually had, and thereby he let the lie become the truth. He even crowed about it and promised that if elected he would teach everyone else how to do the same, so that they too could legally pay no income taxes. The voters then, rather than think that he had run afoul of the tax code, now admired him for outsmarting the government and flocked to his side.

Lucy Goosey knew that she fowled up. She knew that she had used an unsecured phone line and had thus shot herself in her own webbed foot.

Farmer Dell knew what was going on too for he had his spies everywhere. He neither liked or trusted Lucy Goosey because she was so slick. Nothing ever stuck to her, just like water off a duck's back. And as to Cocky Red Rooster, well he was just plain repulsive to him. Always strutting around the barnyard like the cock of the walk or something. He had hoped that someone else would have run, someone like Sheri Sheep who he could have herded around without any trouble. These two would not do. So he asked his political advisor, his wife, what should he do.

"Well," said his wife. "It looks like Red Rooster is going to win and your sister and her family are coming over for Sunday dinner this Sunday. There's your answer."

"Huh?" said a nonplussed Farmer Dell.

"Like the song says. We'll kill the old red rooster when she comes."

"But what about Lucy Goosey? What do we do with her?"

"Christmas is only a few weeks away. All my relatives will be here for Christmas dinner. Goose is traditional at Christmas. Problem solved."

"Well that was relatively easy," responded Farmer Dell. "Two birds with one's family stones."

Moral of the story: Politicians always foul up their nests.

B. Craig Grafton is a retired attorney. His story "The Business of Being King" will appear in the anthology Trump Utopia or Dystopia by Dark Helix Press to be released in November of this year. Please go their website for details.


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