The Assam-state-zoo-cum botanical garden is all set to achieve another milestone with the authorities planning to build a conservation breeding centre for the highly endangered golden langurs inside its premises.
“The project is highly ambitious and right now it is at a preliminary stage. We have submitted the initial proposals to the government to set up the breeding centre inside the zoo which is a very suitable location for their breeding,” zoo divisional forest officer Utpal Bora told PTI here today.
Only a handful of the highly endangered golden langurs (Trachypithecusgeei) are found in the Manas Tiger reserve in lower Assam and in the Umananda temple on river Brahmaputra, near here.
“This initiative has been approved by the government and a detailed report for forming an expert team and construction of an enclosure are being prepared,” Mr. Bora said.
The zoo DFO, who only recently took charge, said the conservation of the endangered species will help increase its population to a viable size and subsequently can be released in the wild.
Mr. Bora revealed that some golden langurs are already in the zoo, but most of them are males and efforts are being made to get some female langurs from Umananda for breeding.
“Already eight golden langurs, known for their majestic golden colour and a bushy tail, are in the zoo and more will be brought in soon,” Mr. Bora said.
The breeding centre would definitely come up in the future, but it would be out of access for the general public as it might hamper the breeding process, he said.
Once completed, the facility would be a big boon to researchers and if the project goes on expected lines, at least 100 langurs could be nurtured which could be then released in the wild, he said.
The central zoo authority has given consent not only to this project, but others as well including conservation breeding of one-horned rhinos, grey peacock pheasants and golden cats.
According to the International Union of Conservation of Nature, the golden langur species is found in a small area around river Manas and Sankosh riversm, bordering Bhutan, and its population, which was estimated to be nearly 2000, has declined by 30 per cent in the last three years.
The species, according to the experts, was discovered by Biritish naturalist Edward Pritchard Gee in the 1950s, but much before that the local people of the Himalayan region knew of its existence and in fact regarded it as ‘sacred’.