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Golden Langurs On The Brink : Saving Our Relatives
Photo By Shyamal Datta

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Photographer: Shyamal Datta

Photo Details

  • Studio Name: Golden Langurs On The Brink : Saving Our Relatives
  • State/Province/Region:
  • Country: India
  • Nearest Area: Assam
  • Nearest Town: Guwahati
  • Description: Some of our earliest and closest relatives - primates - are in trouble. They are on the brink of a looming threat of extinction. One of these - the Golden Langur (Trachipithecus geei) is found only in one endemic corner of the planet - Bhutan and Western Assam, India in tiny pockets, inside so called protected ‘reserve forests’. This is a series of portraits of the Golden Langur from my collection of five years of work with them. My fascination for these beautiful and intelligent primates dates back to 2004 when I first saw and photographed them in Assam. From then on I have embarked on a personal mission through my photographic endeavor to help in the long term conservation of these fascinating creatures. These primates are seriously threatened, with 50% of their population plummeting during the last twenty years. Estimated surviving numbers are anywhere between 2000 to 3000 with a declining trend, says IUCN - the authority of the status of wildlife worldwide. Short of urgent action and support, these beautiful creatures will be destined to be seen only in zoos in the not so distant future. Since 2008 I have been continuously traveling to locations in Western Assam and Bhutan in the quest for photographing them in the wild. The images are used in helping to raise funds to assist communities and organizations who are working tirelessly at the ground level in the conservation of their habitat. The single most significant threat to the Golden Langur is the illegal destruction of forests. Today their habitat has shrunk down to 3000 square kilometres in the state of Assam in India. In the north, the Blue Mountains of Bhutan are the last remaining pockets of their home. Today the langurs live in pockets of forests cut off from each other - preventing their genetic distribution and resulting in inbreeding. There is an urgent need to reconnect the pockets of forests in order to create biodiversity corridors for them to move through their habitat and inter mingle sexually so that a healthy population thrives. The five images of the Golden Langurs in my submission reflect the diversity of their behavior and their moods, sequentially, with the first image of a female, who almost seems to look upwards to providence beseeching for help to survive this looming annihilation of its race. My images are being used in educational and awareness campaigns in the areas surrounding the forest habitat of these langurs. All images of the langurs are donated to field staff of non-governmental volunteers who work to in these areas to educate and create mass awareness of the significance and importance of saving these primates from extinction in the wild. I intend to raise funds through my images to rebuild forest corridors for these primates. I also see the urgent need to create awareness amongst local communities educating them about these creatures that live in their backyards. Finally there is also a need to generate alternate and diversified sustainable livelihood amongst them to ease the pressure off the forests. If I can achieve some of these goals through my photographic documentation - that could possibly result in a halt in the declining population of the Golden Langur - my mission will have been achieved

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