Capped langurs (Trachypithecus plieatus) are found in a narrow geography: Assam and eastwards to Myanmar, and northwards to Bhutan and a small part of Tibet. In Manas NP we mostly saw them in upper branches of trees, munching on leaves. Their diet is mostly leaves, with a little variety provided by seasonal flowers and fruits. Once I saw two bands tried to claim the same tree. After some hissing and chattering one group gave way. Unfortunately, I was taking a video of something else while this conflict was on. There are multiple subspecies, but north of the Brahmaputra and west of Jia Bhoroloi, where we were, is the domain of Trachypithecus pileatus tenebricus. A description of tenebricus that I read was very accurate for the individuals we saw: “hairs radiating from the forehead to form a shaggy cap.”
They looked really confident in the trees, where they spend most of their time foraging. As our jeep moved along a path in the jungle, I saw a band of about ten jump from the canopy on one side of the path to the other. The forest department makes sure that the paths are narrow enough for the monkeys to cross. Although this is one of the commonest monkeys in this region, their numbers have fallen enough that they are already classed as vulnerable. You don’t want to cut up a population into even smaller pieces by putting uncrossable barriers in their way.
I took this photo after the conflict between two bands that I mentioned earlier. The mother and young are alert to danger. The young take about half a year to begin to let go of mamma’s apron strings. I guessed that the little one here was younger than that. It would have gestated for 200 days or so, and, was likely conceived the previous May, at the end of a short mating season which lasts through April and May. There is another mating season which lasts from September to January, but a child conceived in those months would have not been clinging to the mother so closely. Females take care of absent mothers’ young, which perhaps explains the lack of annual pregnancies. You can learn a lot about a pack by just sitting and staring at them.
Science da kamaal! Posts appear automatically while I travel off net.