Douc Langur | WWF

Douc Langur

There are three species of these colobine monkeys, which are native to Southeast Asia and notable for their striking appearance. They face increasing pressure as a result of loss of habitat.

Red shanked douc langur
© WWF Greater Mekong

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Key Facts

  • Common Names

    Douc langur; douc

  • Scientific Name

    Genus: Pygathrix

  • Status

    Endangered to critically endangered; CITES appendix I

  • Geographic Location


The douc langurs are amongst the most beautiful primates in the world. All 3 species are endemic to Indochina.

The 3 species are the red-shanked douc langur (Pygathrix nemaeus), black-shanked douc langur (Pygathix nigripes) and gray-shanked douc langur (Pygathix cinereus).

Physical Description
The red-shanked douc is distinguished by its bright maroon/red "stockings" which run from its knees to its ankles. Otherwise it is similar in appearance to the grey-shanked douc, with a golden face, white chin and dark grey to black hands and feet. The black-shanked douc has a largely greyish blue face. The tail of all 3 species is as long as the body.

Height: 53 - 76cm
Tail: 56 - 76 cm
Weight: 5-11kg

Habitat and Ecology
These animals are predominantly arboreal but may occasionally come to the ground. They are found in evergreen, semi-evergreen and semi-evergreen-mixed deciduous forest mosaics, as well as in coastal dry forest.

Range States
Cambodia, Lao PDR, Vietnam

Population and Distribution
The grey-shanked douc langur is critically endangered with a population estimated to be around 550-700, The red-shanked douc langur and the black-shanked langur are both endangered. Populations of all 3 species have declined by 50-80% over the last 30 years.

	© WWF / Martin HARVEY
The beautiful red-shanked douc langur is only found in north and central Vietnam and Laos. Its habitat is in the lowland to montane primary and secondary rainforest where it lives in the mid to upper levels of the canopy.
© WWF / Martin HARVEY

What are the main threats?

The main threats to all 3 species of douc langurs are habitat loss and hunting. The forests on which douc langurs depend are disappearing at an exponential rate as logging and agricultural conversion continues.

Douc langurs are hunted for food, for use in traditional medicine and for sale as pets. Laws aimed at protecting them are not always effectively enforced.

What is WWF doing?

WWF's Greater Mekong Programme focuses on the region where douc langurs live, WWF is working with local communities, government partners and industry across Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam to help conserve the rich biodiversity and natural ecosystems, upon which the region's future depends.

Specific work has included programmes to monitor primates, ecological research of red-shanked langurs, conservation planning, improved park management and technical assistance to combat wildlife trade.
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How you can help

  • Don't support illegal and unsustainable logging. Only buy FSC certified wood and wood products.
  • Adopt a douc! Help protect these beautiful primates through WWF US.
  • Spread the word! Click on the button to share this information with others via email or your favourite social networking service.

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Did you know?

    • Douc is an ancient name of Vietnamese origin thought to mean monkey.
    • The red-shanked douc langur's extravagant appearance has given it the alternative name of "costumed ape".

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