Nine langurs freed from captivity in Agra

Agra: Renting out black-faced langurs to drive away marauding armies of simians in colonies or public gatherings, has become a lucrative business for some groups in the Agra region. This came to light when the wildlife department on a tip rescued nine langoors in Agra's Sadar Bazar area.

To stop trading in wildlife the state forest department team rounded up six females, two males, and a baby langoor, all tied with a rope. The team carefully removed the ropes and after obtaining permission from the relevant authorities, the langurs were released back into the wild.

In an anti-poaching operation, the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department received a complaint about Indian grey langurs tied in a residential colony in Agra’s Sadar area. On receiving information, the forest department busted and rescued nine langurs.

The langurs were safely shifted in a transport carrier, and after obtaining permission from the court, they were released into their natural habitat with assistance from Wildlife SOS.

Adarsh Kumar, Divisional Forest Officer, Agra said, “It is an illegal trade and we are trying to track many people and reduce this practice because the grey langur is protected under Schedule II of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Keeping other wild animals such as parakeets and indigenous turtles is also illegal, and it can invite necessary legal action.”

Baiju Raj MV, Director-Conservation Projects, Wildlife SOS said, “We have been working with the forest department for more than two decades to mitigate human-wildlife conflict and poaching. Since we have a wildlife hospital, and there are facilities and a veterinary team to check the animals, we take timely action to release them in the wild.”

Taking advantage of the grey langurs and the rhesus macaques’ age-old rivalry, poachers capture langurs from the wild so they can be trained to tackle the rising ‘monkey menace’ in various cities across India. However, it is a myth that encourages this practice even further.

The Indian grey langur i.e. Semnopithecus entellus, is a large grey primate with a black face and ears and has a long tail for balancing on tree limbs. Langurs are most commonly found in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan. They inhabit deserts, tropical rainforests, and montane habitats. They can adapt well to human settlements and are found in villages, towns, and areas with housing or agriculture.

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