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

The 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.

In 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:

  1. Improving housing through monkey-proofing measures
  2. Improving garbage disposal
  3. Building awareness on specific issues
  4. Ecological restoration of rainforest fragment and retention of native shade trees in plantations
The survey results will be used as a baseline and to prioritize implementation of identified coexistence measures along with local people, plantation management. and forest department.




  • Journal Article
    Whose habitat is it anyway? Role of natural and anthropogenic habitats in conservation of charismatic species
    Tropical Conservation Science 11: 1-5.

    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.

  • Report
    Awareness and coexistence measures to conserve endangered lion-tailed macaques in the Valparai landscape, Western Ghats.
    Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore.
  • Journal Article
    Our backyard wildlife: Challenges in coexisting with uneasy neighbours. [Guest Editorial]
    Mewa Singh, M Ananda Kumar
    Current Science 106: 1463-1464.
  • Popular Article
    உண்டி 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. 

    (The Hindu link here and personal blog link here).

  • Popular Article
    ஓர் 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 PiragumIyarkayin Vaasalil ArticleSeries No.12 (On impact of mass tourism in hill stations and irresponsible tourists). The Hindu Tamil News Daily. 23rd September 2014. 

    (The Hindu link here and personal blog link here).

  • Popular Article
    முந்தோன்றி மூத்தவரே. (On South Indian Primates)
    புதிய தலைமுறை. 16ஆகஸ்டு 2012. Puthiya Thalaimurai. 16th August 2012.

    Available here:

    முந்தோன்றி மூத்தவரே. காக்கைக் குருவி எங்கள் ஜாதி தொடர்-6. புதிய தலைமுறை.  16ஆகஸ்டு 2012.[Jeganathan, P. 2012. Munthondri Moothavare. Kakkai Kuruvi Engal Jathi-Series, Article No.6 Puthiya Thalaimurai. 16th August 2012. (On South Indian Primates)]

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