Sacred apes

Source:, photo by Dreamodisha
In India, the Hanuman langur is also known as the holy ape. The animal is named after the Hindu god Hanuman, which is depicted as a talking ape. Apenheul, a primate zoo in the Netherlands, now has Hanuman langurs on exhibit.
Apenheul is the only zoo in the Netherlands where the public can see these apes. Last year, two females and one male were moved from another zoo to their present home in Apeldoorn. Both females came from the zoo in Hannover, Germany, and the male came all the way from the Warsaw Zoo in Poland. Apenheul is hoping that these three will become a successful breeding group.

Hanuman langurs are very accomplished jumpers. Although they are friendly, peaceful animals, these apes’ jumping powers prevent the zoo from allowing them to run entirely free: they would be able to jump out of their enclosure! A creative solution has been found: the large aviary at Apenheul, which used to be used for South American birds, has been adapted for the Hanuman langurs. In this aviary, the apes can run loose among the visitors for a few hours each day.

The Hanuman langur is mostly grey, with black face, hands and feet, and pale yellow flanks. Its body is 50 to 75 centimetres long, and its tail measures about a metre. Its diet consists of leaves, fruit, shoots and buds. To get the salts it needs, it consumes mineral-rich earth as well.
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