Comparative Demography of Two Commensal Macaques in India: Implications for Population Status and Conservation

In: Folia Primatologica
Rishi Kumar null

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Anindya Sinha null

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Sindhu Radhakrishna null

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Rhesus and bonnet macaques are among the most common primates found in India and have been categorised as being of Least Concern by the IUCN. Despite the wealth of information on their ecology and behaviour, little attention has been paid to their demography or population status. We studied the demographic status of the two species along their common distribution zone in western, central and south-eastern India. Bonnet macaques were largely found in forest areas whereas rhesus macaques were observed more often in human-dominated habitats. The troop sizes of the two species also tended to be largest in different habitats, bonnet macaques in forested areas and rhesus macaques in urban areas. We suggest that the presence of large numbers of rhesus macaques in anthropogenic areas in south-eastern India is not a natural phenomenon but has been caused by human intervention. The bonnet macaque population has decreased in number in the common distribution zone, and as this species, unlike the rhesus macaque, is endemic to India, we strongly recommend the need to reassess its conservation status.

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