Alarming trend: Black Footed Gray Langurs stray from forests towards human settlements

11:15 AM Feb 02, 2024 | Team Udayavani |

Udupi: In a concerning shift, the Black Footed Gray Langur, a species endemic to the Western Ghats is facing challenges to its traditional lifestyle, migrating from the natural habitat of forested areas to urban and rural spaces. This change has sparked worries among wildlife enthusiasts about the impact of urbanization on this distinct primate.


Once seldom spotted in coastal forested regions, this langur has now routinely been spotted in human habitations in both rural and urban areas of Udupi and surrounding areas.

Natural habitat

The gray langur, also known as “Kappu Mouthi Mushi” in Kannada and “Mujju” in Tulu, and the Lion Tailed Macaque are 2 species endemic to the Central Western Ghats of India, with rainforests being its preferred habitat. Dr. Manita TK, Head of the Department of Zoology at MGM College, highlights, “Gray langurs, not found anywhere else globally, inhabit the Western Ghats of Karnataka, Kerala, and Goa. Living in groups, they primarily consume green leaves with a life expectancy of about 30 years.”

The Western Ghat range in Karnataka, particularly in Udupi, Shivamogga, Uttara Kannada, Dakshina Kannada, and Chikkamagaluru, serves as a vital habitat for these primates. However, recent observations reveal their migration to populated areas like Alevoor, Indrali, and Marne parts of Udupi.


Urbanization and tourism to blame?

The primary reason for this shift appears to be the scarcity of food in their natural habitat. Black Footed Gray Langurs, being primarily leaf-eaters, face challenges when food sources in the wild diminish. Ganapathi, DFO of Kudremukh Wildlife Division, Karkala, emphasizes the impact of human interference, stating, “Feeding them bakery snacks, rice, broth, etc., is inappropriate. This human-friendly species is drawn to towns and rural areas in search of food, contributing to the increasing trend.”

The Forest Department emphasizes the importance of preserving the langur’s natural diet and discouraging the feeding of human food. Awareness campaigns are underway, particularly in areas like Agumbe and Hebri, to educate tourists and locals on the consequences of offering unnatural food to these primates.


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