Sighting of red leaf monkeys near Mount Kinabalu summit delights experts
Published on: Thursday, January 14, 2021
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The maroon langurs at Laban Rata, near the summit of Mount Kinabalu.
Kota Kinabalu: A recent sighting of a troop of maroon langurs or red leaf monkeys near the summit of Mount Kinabalu has come as a pleasant surprise to wildlife experts, but it has also raised concerns about the effects of climate change.

The maroon langurs were spotted at Laban Rata at an altitude of 3,272 metres. 

The species, which has the scientific name of Presbytis rubicunda, is usually found in forests up to an altitude of 2,000m.

In response to a posting by social media user Freddie Jude Julani who took photos of the primates on Jan 8, Sabah Wildlife Department Assistant Director Dr Sen Nathan said: 

“Could this be an altitudinal shift of habitat range due to climate change?”

When contacted by FMT, Freddie, the service manager for Sutera Sanctuary Lodges that operates the Laban Rata rest house, said this was the first time he had seen the langurs at Laban Rata.

 “It was just before 10am and one of my staff alerted me to the presence of some langurs some distance from the rest house,” he said.

Using binoculars as zoom lens, Freddie was able to take a few photos of the four monkeys who appeared to be feeding and resting on the nearby trees.

He said he did not alert any of the rest house guests about the presence of the langurs for fear of scaring off the animals.

Freddie said the langurs continued to remain around the Laban Rata rest house for about an hour before vanishing from sight. 

“I haven’t seen any more since then. It was exciting and a special treat to see them near the rest house,” he added.

The Kadazandusun communities living at the mountain’s foothills call the langurs maragang or the red creatures due to the colour of their fur. 

The langurs are an arboreal species, spending their lives among the treetops feeding on leaves, seeds and fruits.

The website cleanmalaysia.com describes the conservation status of the langurs as threatened. 


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