LTM in the neighbourhood
Building coexistence to conserve an endangered primate
This study in the Anamalai hills examined local people’s perceptions towards lion-tailed macaques, identified housing vulnerability to macaques, and people's responses and interactions with this primate in order to develop coexistence measures.
Lion-tailed macaques of Valparai
lion-tailed macaque is an endangered primate endemic to Western Ghats. An earlier study found that 31 troops with around 460 individuals of lion-tailed
macaques occur in the rainforests of the Anamalai hills. At least 12 troops and over 150 individuals now occur in
rainforest fragments within plantations on the Valparai plateau. In recent
times, macaque troops living in fragments close to developed areas and penetrated by roads have shown behavioural alteration and become habituated to
people, and suffered more frequent roadkill mortality and conflicts due to feeding by tourists or monkeys visiting open waste dumps and homes.
Finding solutions to these issues
will enable the conservation of this species.
this study, we explored the perceptions of local people towards lion-tailed
macaques and their interactions with this endangered and endemic primate.
Perceptions and coexistence
Questionnaire survey was conducted in colonies and residences in and around three rainforest fragments—Puthuthottam, Korangumudi, and Old Valparai—where lion-tailed macaque troops occur. Macaques near Korangumudi and Old Valparai rarely ventured close to residences and many people remained unaware of their presence. Respondents in and around Puthuthottam were aware of the macaques and most (68%) tend to have some negative perceptions since macaques often come close to human habitations. Most respondents (87%) were of the opinion that the macaques visited human habitations in search of food and garbage. We found that housing conditions influenced the people's perception: more people (84.5%) living in tiled-roof houses tended to have negative perceptions when compared to people living in asbestos-roof and concrete structures. Past fragmentation and ongoing habitat degradation also contributed to macaques coming to the ground and directly interacting with people more often.
To reduce negative interactions and build human – macaque coexistence we identified specific measures related to:
- Improving housing through monkey-proofing measures
- Improving garbage disposal
- Building awareness on specific issues
- Ecological restoration of rainforest fragment and retention of native shade trees in plantations
- Journal Article2018Understanding perceptions of people towards lion-tailed macaques in a fragmented landscape of the Anamalai Hills, Western Ghats, IndiaPrimate Conservation 32: 11 pp.Download
PDF, 2.24 MB
The fragmentation of the rainforests of India’s Western Ghats mountains has left the endemic lion-tailed macaque sur- viving in numerous forest patches in a mosaic of commercial tea and coffee plantations. On the Valparai Plateau, Anamalai Hills, some macaque groups have evidently altered their behavior, becoming habituated to people, suffering from frequent roadkill, and facing problems related to people feeding them and their use of open waste dumps. We carried out a questionnaire survey around three rainforest fragments (Puthuthottam, Korangumudi, Old Valparai) and the town of Valparai to understand people’s percep- tions towards macaques, and to identify appropriate conflict-mitigation measures. Macaques near Korangumudi and Old Valparai rarely ventured near residences, and most people were unaware of their presence. Respondents in and around Puthuthottam were aware of the macaques, and most (68%) had negative perceptions of them because the macaques often visited houses in the area. Most respondents (87%) believed that macaques visited houses in search of food and garbage, and 84% reported that macaques were doing this only over the last 10 years. Housing conditions influenced people's perceptions: people living in tiled-roof houses that were vulnerable to incursions by the macaques had higher negative perceptions (84.5%) compared to people living in asbestos-roof and concrete structures. To reduce negative interactions with people and promote harmonious human-macaque co-existence, we suggest implementing a combination of measures that would involve plantation management, conservation orga- nizations, and the state forest and municipal authorities. The measures include cost-effective monkey-proofing of houses, regular garbage collection, preventing open waste disposal and the feeding of macaques, mitigating the effects of roads, and promoting people’s awareness, rainforest restoration, and the use of native shade trees in plantations.
- Journal Article2018Whose habitat is it anyway? Role of natural and anthropogenic habitats in conservation of charismatic speciesTropical Conservation Science 11: 1-5.Download
PDF, 493 KB
Developmental activities have been one of the major drivers of conversion of natural forest areas into mosaics of forest fragments, agriculture, and plantations, threatening the existence of wildlife species in such altered landscapes. Most conservation research and actions are protected area centric and seldom addresses the importance of landscape matrices around these protected areas in providing habitats to a wide range of species. In this article, we bring out the crucial role of natural and anthropogenic habitats for the existence of three charismatic species, namely, Asian elephants, leopard, and lion-tailed macaques. The larger public perception of where the animals should be and where the animals actually are is also discussed. We emphasize that, while habitat generalists often adapt behaviorally and ecologically to modified landscapes, habitat specialists, such as the lion-tailed macaques could find survival harder, with increasing anthropogenic pressures and loss of their habitats.
- Report2016Awareness and coexistence measures to conserve endangered lion-tailed macaques in the Valparai landscape, Western Ghats.Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore.
- Popular Article2014உண்டி கொடுத்தோம், உயிர் கொடுத்தோமா? (On ill effects of feeding monkeys).தி இந்து நாளிதழ். The Hindu Tamil News Daily. 16th September 2014.
Jeganathan, P. (2014).உண்டி கொடுத்தோம், உயிர் கொடுத்தோமா? - தி இந்து நாளிதழ் உயிர்மூச்சு இணைப்பில், ‘இயற்கையின் வாசலில்’ தொடர்எண் – 11. 16th September 2014. Undi Koduthom Uyir Koduthoma?– Iyarkayin Vaasalil ArticleSeries No.11 (On ill effects of feeding monkeys). The Hindu Tamil News Daily. 16th September 2014.
- Popular Article2014ஓர் இன்பச் சுற்றுலாவும், அதற்குப் பிறகும். (On impact of mass tourism in hill stations and irresponsible tourists)தி இந்து நாளிதழ். The Hindu Tamil News Daily. 23rd September 2014.
Jeganathan, P. (2014). ஓர் இன்பச் சுற்றுலாவும், அதற்குப் பிறகும் - தி இந்து நாளிதழ் உயிர்மூச்சு இணைப்பில், ‘இயற்கையின் வாசலில்’ தொடர்எண் – 12. 23rd September 2014. Or Inba Sutrulavum Atharku Piragum– Iyarkayin Vaasalil ArticleSeries No.12 (On impact of mass tourism in hill stations and irresponsible tourists). The Hindu Tamil News Daily. 23rd September 2014.
- Journal Article2014Our backyard wildlife: Challenges in coexisting with uneasy neighbours. [Guest Editorial]Current Science 106: 1463-1464.
Available here: http://www.currentscience.ac.in/Volumes/106/11/1463.pdf
- Popular Article2012முந்தோன்றி மூத்தவரே. (On South Indian Primates)புதிய தலைமுறை. 16ஆகஸ்டு 2012. Puthiya Thalaimurai. 16th August 2012.