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.
Julia called her friend Marianne early on a Tuesday morning.
It was half-price day at the Zoo and Julia really wanted to get some
walking exercise, but not by herself. Marianne balked for quite a while,
but finally conceded to go once Julia told her that "that cute guy"
Brian was probably going to be there at some point.
Upon entering the zoo, Marianne took her phone from her purse and declared
to Julia that she absolutely must see, right now, what Kim was wearing
today. So she missed the peacock standing in front of her with his tail
fanned, and she missed his shrill peacock cry.
Walking on another path, Marianne told Julia that there was a new game
on her phone and she must play it right now in order to be one of the
first people to have that experience. Therefore, she was oblivious to
the baby chimps to her right who had just discovered the game of tag.
Later that morning, they stopped for coffee at the little café within
the perimeter of the Zoo. From her chair, Julia had a good look around
at all the pretty landscaping while Marianne stayed on her phone catching
up on emails.
Mid afternoon, Marianne proclaimed that her favorite artist had just
dropped a new tune and that she must hear it right now. So, while Marianne
listened to the thumping beat, people stood nearby mesmerized by a group
of exotic birds singing. This was a rare and beautiful event performed
by these birds. Many of the people present, truly moved, had visible
tears on their faces as they realized the significance of what they
On their way out of the zoo, Marianne announced to Julia that she must,
right now, watch the latest video of a public marriage proposal that
had taken place in a stadium. "It doesn't get any more romantic than
that," she sighed. And as she watched the small screen, she neither
saw nor heard "that cute guy" Brian waving and calling to her across
the path. Out the exit the two went.
On the way home, as Julia drove, Marianne cooed that she felt such
a sense of accomplishment about today as she simultaneously re-tweeted
this: "Take time every day to peacefully appreciate the beauty in the
world around you."
Linda Imbler is the author of the published poetry collection Big
Questions, Little Sleep. Her work has appeared in numerous journals.
Linda has new poems forthcoming at Halcyon Days, Leaves of Ink,
The Moon Magazine, PPP Ezine, and Bindweed. Her short stories
have been accepted at Fear of Monkeys, Danse Macabre, Ariel Chart
(forthcoming) and Mad Swirl. She can be found at lindaspoetryblog.blogspot.com.
This writer, yoga practitioner, and classical guitar player lives
in Wichita, Kansas.