The White-Headed Langur

A Look At an Endangered Species

What Are White-Headed Langurs?

White-headed langurs, also known as Cat Ba langurs are East-Asian, herbivorous primates that are near extinction. Their scientific name is Trachypithecus poliocephalus. They are mammals and are covered in fur.(wiki)

Where Do They Live?

Their natural habitat is the limestone forests. They live in caves, hills, and in trees. They are located in Cat Ba Island, Vietnam, and Guanxi, China. They usually have a mild climate, but they sometimes face extreme weather.(iucn)


White-headed langurs have black skin, a dark brown pelage, but from head to shoulder, they can have white, bright golden, or yellow fur. Their unusual characteristic is a pointed, white crown that changes color four months after they are born. They are born golden in color, but as they mature, they change color. Males and female langurs look alike, but experts can tell them apart by fur patterns. They are 135 centimeters from head to tail, and their tails are 85 centimeters long.(wiki)(iucn)

What Do They Eat?

White-headed langurs eat mainly leaves, but also fresh shoots, flowers, bark, and fruits. They climb trees to get their food.(wiki)(iucn)


Evolution has provided these primates with long tails, long arms, and long fingers. They have adapted to having excellent tree-climbing skills. They are not regularly hunted because of their foul-smelling and foul-tasting flesh.(iucn)


White-headed langurs have a life span of 25 years. It takes them 4 to 6 years to mature. There are 1 or 2 males in a group, and several females. Females give birth every 2 or 3 years, usually to a single baby. These primates communicate with signals. They are prey to wildcats, wild dogs, snakes, and crocodiles. They are nomadic creatures, so they regularly move from cave to cave when resources start to run out, or when predators and humans get closer. The males protect the group while the others flee, and they live high up where they are hard to reach.(wiki)(iucn)

Why Are They Endangered?

White-headed langurs are endangered due to hunting, habitat loss, and illegal poaching. There are three to four all-female groups which are obviously non-reproductive. Now an average group size is 3.7 individuals!(iucn)

Interesting Facts!

  • White-headed langurs are among the top 25 most endangered primates in the world.
  • They could possibly be the rarest primates in Asia.
  • There are only 60-70 individuals left in the wild.
  • They are distinct because of their "crown".


How To Help!

Conservation Actions: The langur habitat is currently protected by law and there are two sanctuaries for primates. Each of these contain 35% of the langur population. The other 30% is under captive care. Reconstruction of the habitat is taking place, and people are being educated about how to protect these amazing creatures.

How to help: The Cat Ba Langur Conservation Project( accept donations to reconstruct and take care of langurs.