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.




TS Hidalgo

I had a riding accident at my college's polo club, three weeks before the date originally set for my wedding. A minor matter apparently and not at all uncomfortable or painful but a major setback for my impending nuptials even so: I tore my hymen.

I called my mother a bit nervously. I had to tell her the details of my mishap while I led Wood to the stables. I tried again when I walked out of the dressing rooms. She didn't answer the second time either so I left a message. I decided not to call Jordi--my finance, flamenco dancer, first generation American, on tour on the East Coast and before that in Seattle, Omaha, Nebraska, and Redwood City, California with his latest show, adaptation of classics--for the time being. I went back to my apartment, a loft actually, right on Berkeley campus. I read for a while and then, to calm myself down a little, I started knitting bootees for a niece of mine.

I was getting ready to go buy wool at a mall when my cellphone rang. It was my mother. I explained everything and we agreed to look for a good surgeon and not tell my boyfriend a thing. He called me that very same night. He apologized for delaying his return: he would come on Saturday. Extension of his tour on the East Coast: three extra shows in New York.

On Friday we went to an informational appointment at a centrally-located clinic--recommended by the medical team that took care of my facial whitening--and we scheduled surgery for that next Saturday morning. It was a quick and easy reconstruction operation, barely 45 minutes, with local anesthesia and no counter-indications or any further treatment necessary. That's how Dr. Wilkins said it would be--promise in his eyes too: Picassean, bulging, celestial--and that was how it was. My mother and I decided to go out for something at a café downtown after leaving.

"Finished business," I sighed with relief.

I had lunch at home with my parents and older sister. She was very focused on her latest project: comprehensive renovations of the insides of old buildings from the city's obsolete historical center. Lofts. For dotcom industry offices. My father blessed the table seconds before a resounding "Fucking hell" after burning his tongue on the first spoonful of soup. Jordi called me: plan change on the spur of the moment. In the end he was going to extend his tour by two more days-Washington--and wouldn't be back till Monday. My brother and his wife came around five with my niece. I gave them the bootees and said goodbye to everyone.

On my way to campus, I got a call from Candice, and we decided to go to the movies with another girl friend from the department. I didn't tell them anything about what had happened. After the credits rolled, we decided to go have a few gin tonics at Studio 54. The rest, as I recall: I met Wilkins on my way to the dance floor: Jordi called, I turned off my phone, I said goodbye to my friends. In his car, the doctor inquired as to my post-op. We drank stove-boiled coffee at my campus hours later and he operated on me on Monday, this time at zero cost.

"Flat fee," he said, to be more exact.

I got out of class that afternoon just in time to pick up Jordi. I was about to turn on the car when my phone rang, "Don't go to the airport: my return date has been pushed back again: Philadelphia, three days." U-turn and call to Wilkins. "Don't worry. On Wednesday I think I can go to your office too," I replied. It's true, I really could go Wednesday. And on Friday, when Dr. Wilkins sewed me up again, after the thousandth extension of the tour: a new sponsor had signed them for a show in Atlanta, dates to be announced.

During the weekend, I tried to catch up on my doctoral thesis, two weeks from my wedding. I went with Wilkins to look at some apartments - he was thinking about buying one-. I spoke to my fiance, who several times gave me indecisive and hesitant sentences in reply. I tried to coax a firm return date out of him resorting even to the use of irony, but Jordi responded that--he thought that--he didn't have any shows scheduled for any city called Ithaca.

A few new shows in London, maybe, but they weren't sure yet. Wilkins, at the beginning somewhat reluctant to have the morning stove-brewed coffee, started to get used to it and at this stage of the game was already learning how to make it himself.

I had more operations the following week, and the next week, when I found out our wedding would be postponed until further notice. I took the opportunity to enormously expand my contacts among those in charge of research grants at my university.

Then Wilkins and I also took the opportunity to go to carnaval in Rio for a few days. Upon our return, the doctor changed his real estate search on the spur of the moment: instead of an apartment he decided to buy an abandoned industrial warehouse and renovate it as a loft - without changing the factory aesthetic on the outside: residential and professional use in the same space.

Two months later, Jordi appeared. I lost count of how many times I went under the knife. My relationship with Wilkins has since then been purely sentimental. No one would know, seeing me in the picture, that I'm a gypsy sunbathing in a Beverly Hills sunrise who had gotten married a few hours before and had gotten an A+ on the handkerchief test.

TS Hidalgo (44) holds a BBA (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), a MBA (IE Business School), a MA in Creative Writing (Hotel Kafka) and a Certificate in Management and the Arts (New York University). His works have been published in magazines in the USA, Canada, Argentina, Chile, Germany, UK, Spain, Ireland, Portugal, South Africa, Nigeria, Botswana, India and Australia, and he has been the winner of prizes like the Criaturas feroces (Editorial Destino) in short story and a finalist at Festival Eñe in the novel category. He has currently developed his career in finance and stock-market.


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