August 15, 2019
- as seen by -Julie Larsen Maher
With a wisp of soft fur atop a pixie-like face, François’s langurs (Trachypithecus francoisi) look like they could be found scampering through an enchanted glen. Their elfin behavior suggests the same.
Langur sisters, Mei Mei (above) and Ling, live at the Philadelphia Zoo. They are a fun-loving pair of primates that like to do what siblings do. Recently, the zoo’s primate curator, Michael Stern, watched Mei Mei playfully nip at Ling’s tail, and Ling responded with a gentle tug at Mei’s hair.
In the wild, François’s langurs are found in parts of China and Viet Nam where they spend time playing, grooming, resting, and foraging, but they are losing ground. These leaf-eating primates are classified as Endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. One of their major threats is habitat loss that has caused fragmentation of langur populations and forced them to travel further for food.
Philadelphia Zoo is part of the François’s Langur Species Survival Plan, a shared conservation program by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums where AZA and member institutions work cooperatively toward the long-term survival of species.
Mei Mei and Ling are part of a trio of François’s langurs at the zoo that includes a male named Chester.