Dusky Langurs Trachypithecus obscurus (Reid, 1837) (Primates: Cercopithecidae) in Singapore: potential origin and conflicts with native primate species

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Andie Ang
Sabrina Jabbar
Max Khoo


The introduction of exotic species can have detrimental effects on local populations via factors such as resource competition and new threats from disease. Singapore has three native species of non-human primates: Sunda Slow Loris Nycticebus coucang, Long-tailed Macaque Macaca fascicularis, and Raffles’ Banded Langur Presbytis femoralis. Over the past few months, several non-native Dusky Langurs Trachypithecus obscurus were observed in Singapore. We document our observations, compile reports from social media, and attempt to assess the potential impacts on local primates. Whenever Dusky Langurs were encountered, we recorded the date, time, GPS coordinates, group demographics, and behaviour, including interactions with native primates. We also monitored sighting reports of Dusky Langurs posted on local major Facebook groups from 30 December 2019 to 31 January 2020, and privately messaged the person(s) for more information. On 31 August 2019, three Dusky Langurs were seen near a residential area in the northern part of Singapore, and two to three individuals were reported on 14 subsequent occasions. During one encounter on 18 January 2020, an adult male Long-tailed Macaque chased a group of Dusky Langurs from a feeding tree. The next day the same group of Dusky Langurs chased a group of 11 Banded Langurs from another feeding tree. The Dusky Langurs appeared to be healthy and wild, indicating that they may have swum across the Johor Strait and/or traveled on the Johor-Singapore Causeway from Malaysia. Further monitoring of these Dusky Langurs will be required to assess their impact on local primates.

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