, Volume 25, Issue 5, pp 1001-1018

Distribution and Abundance of Primates in Rain Forests of the Western Ghats, Karnataka, India and the Conservation of Macaca silenus

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Abstract

We assessed the distribution and abundance of 4 species of diurnal primates viz. lion-tailed macaque, bonnet macaque, Nilgiri langur and Hanuman langur, in 2 areas—Brahmagiri-Makut and Sirsi-Honnavara—in rain forests of the Western Ghats in the state of Karnataka, India. The Nilgiri langurs in Brahmagiri-Makut and the lion-tailed macaques in Sirsi-Honnavara are the northernmost populations of the 2 species in the Western Ghats. The 2 regions represent changes in ecological zones in the Western Ghats. In Brahmagiri-Makut, Hanuman langurs and bonnet macaques occupy lower elevations whereas Nilgiri langurs live in relatively higher altitudes. Only one group of lion-tailed macaques was in Brahmagiri-Makut. In the forests of Sirsi-Honnavara, 3 species of primates viz. lion-tailed macaque, bonnet macaque and Hanuman langur were in larger numbers throughout the forest. A self-sustainable single population of 32 groups of lion-tailed macaques occurred in Sirsi-Honnavara. Few subspecies of Hanuman langurs exist in the study regions. Due to local hunting practices, the relative abundance of primates in Brahmagiri-Makut is lower than that in Sirsi-Honnavara.