: Nilgiri langurs ( Trachypithecus johnii ) continue to be hunted for the preparation of crude medicines despite the implementation of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Prior to the Act coming into force, these primates were ruthlessly hunted to the brim of extinction.

According to a National Studbook on Nilgiri langurs published in May this year by the Wildlife Institute of India and the Central Zoo Authority, poaching continues to be a main threat to Nilgiri langurs. The studbook says the primates were being hunted mainly for their pelt, blood, flesh and organs to produce crude medicines and even so-called aphrodisiacs.

Before the Act came into force, such medicines were freely available with traditional medicine practitioners in Kerala and the products were even advertised. ‘Karingkorangu Rasayanam' was one of the leading products available then. Later the Kerala Forest Department launched a publicity campaign to save the Nilgiri langurs. Though the campaign produced desirable results, the langurs are still not free from poaching; medicines brewed from the flesh, blood and organs of these primates are available illicitly and are said to be very costly.