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Red-shanked Douc Langurs

"These are red-shanked douc langurs (duke LANG-grrr-s), monkeys from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. You'll noticed that the males are much larger than the females, and have big bellies that look like they're pregnant. This large gut holds a multi-chambered stomach, which helps them digest leaves, their main food source. While they eat a variety of tree leaves, small, tender leaflets seem to be their favorite. They also eat fruits, flowers and seeds.

Douc langurs are endangered for three reasons: over 60% of the forests in Vietnam are gone, destroyed by logging, farming, and the Vietnam War. These monkeys are hunted for the food, and are considered a delicacy all over Southeast Asia. In addition, some traditional Oriental medicines include douc langur body parts.

Red-shanked, or Northern, douc langurs (Pygathrix nemaeus) have been living and breeding successfully at the San Diego Zoo since 1968. This is the only type of douc langur found in zoos outside of Southeast Asia. To see them at the San Diego Zoo, visit the Sun Bear Forest. The black-shanked, or Southern, douc langurs (pygathrix nigripes) spend their lives in the trees like all douc langurs. This species is rare in captivity in Vietnam and very little is known about their behavior. The grey-shanked douc langur (Pygathrix cinereus) wasn't known to Western science until 1996, when it was noticed that two rescued animals at the EPCC had different coloring and markings. DNA analsys showed them to be a completely different species!"

For more information on the San Diego Zoo's conservation work world wide, visit their website at: http://www.sandiegozoo.org If you're ever in San Diego, give these cute guys a visit.