International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 35, Issue 5, pp 976–989 | Cite as

Distribution, Demography, and Conservation of Lion-tailed Macaques (Macaca silenus) in the Anamalai Hills Landscape, Western Ghats, India

  • Honnavalli N. Kumara
  • R. Sasi
  • R. Suganthasakthivel
  • Mewa SinghEmail author
  • H. S. Sushma
  • K. K. Ramachandran
  • Werner Kaumanns


The status of the endemic and endangered lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus) has not been properly assessed in several regions of the Western Ghats of southern India. We conducted a study in Parambikulam Forest Reserve in the state of Kerala to determine the distribution, demography, and status of lion-tailed macaques. We laid 5km2 grid cells on the map of the study area (644km2) and made four replicated walks in each grid cell using GPS. We gathered data on lion-tailed macaque group locations, demography, and site covariates including trail length, duration of walk, proportion of evergreen forest, height of tallest trees, and human disturbance index. We also performed occupancy modeling using PRESENCE ver. 3.0. We estimated a minimum of 17 groups of macaques in these hills. Low detection and occupancy probabilities indicated a low density of lion-tailed macaques in the study area. Height of the tallest trees correlated positively whereas human disturbance and proportion of evergreen forest correlated negatively with occupancy in grid cells. We also used data from earlier studies carried out in the surrounding Anamalai Tiger Reserve and Nelliyampathy Hills to discuss the conservation status in the large Anamalai Hills Landscape. This landscape harbors an estimated population of 1108 individuals of lion-tailed macaques, which is about one third of the entire estimated wild population of this species. A conservation plan for this landscape could be used as a model for conservation in other regions of the Western Ghats.


Anamalai Tiger Reserve Anamalai Hills landscape Conservation Lion-tailed macaque Nelliyampathy Hills Parambikulam Western Ghats 



We thank Kerala Forest Department for permission to conduct research in Parambikulam. Partial financial support for this work was provided by Detroit Zoo, USA; Tiergarten Wels, Austria; Zoo Dresden, Germany; and Ramanna Fellowship to M. Singh by SERB, Government of India. We thank the anonymous reviewers and the editors, Oliver Schulke and Joanna Setchell, for their helpful comments.

Supplementary material

10764_2014_9776_MOESM1_ESM.docx (17 kb)
Supplementary Table 1 Disturbance Index (DOCX 17 kb)


  1. Anitha, K., Aneesh, A., Raghavan, R., Kanagavel, A., Augustine, T., & Joseph, S. (2013). Identifying habitat connectivity for isolated populations of lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus) in Valparai Plateau, Western Ghats, India. Primate Conservation, 27, 91–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Burnham, K. P., & Anderson, D. R. (1998). Model selection and inference: A practical information-theoretic approach. New York: Springer-Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Green, S. M., & Minkowski, K. (1977). The lion-tailed macaque and its south Indian rainforest habitat. In G. H. Bourne & H. S. H. Rainier (Eds.), Primate conservation (pp. 289–337). New York: Academic Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Hines, J. E. (2012). Program Presence (version 3): Software to compute estimates patch occupancy rates and related parameters. USGS-PWRC, http//
  5. IUCN (2013). IUCN red list of threatened species version 2012.2. (Accessed on December 14, 2013).
  6. Joseph, G. K., & Ramachandran, K. K. (1998). Recent population trends and management of lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus) in Silent Valley National Park, Kerala, India. Indian Forester, 124, 833–840.Google Scholar
  7. Kumar, A. (1987). The ecology and population dynamics of lion-tailed monkeys (Macaca silenus) in south India. Ph.D. dissertation, Cambridge University.Google Scholar
  8. Kumar, A., Umapathy, G., & Prabhakar, A. (1995). A study of the management and conservation of small mammals in fragmented rain forests in the Western Ghats, south India: A preliminary report. Primate Conservation, 16, 53–58.Google Scholar
  9. Kumara, H. N., & Singh, M. (2004a). Distribution and abundance of primates in rainforests of the Western Ghats, Karnataka, India and the conservation of Macaca silenus. International Journal of Primatology, 25, 1001–1018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kumara, H. N., & Singh, M. (2004b). The influence of differing hunting practices on the relative abundance of mammals in two rainforest areas of the Western Ghats, India. Oryx, 38, 321–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kumara, H. N., & Sinha, A. (2009). Decline of the endangered lion-tailed macaque in the Western Ghats, India. Oryx, 43, 292–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. MacKenzie, D. I., Nichols, J. D., Lachman, G. B., Droege, S., Royle, J. A., & Langtimm, C. A. (2002). Estimating site occupancy rates when detection probabilities are less than one. Ecology, 83, 2248–2255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Ministry of Environment and Forests, Press Information Bureau, Government of India (2008). Eight new tiger reserves. Press release ID:44799.Google Scholar
  14. Molur, S., Brandon-Jones, D., Dittus, W., Eudey, A., Kumar, A., Singh, M., Feeroz, M. M., Chalise, M., Priya, P., & Walker, S. (2003). Status of south Asian primates: Conservation assessment and management plan (C.A.M.P.) Workshop Report, 2003. Coimbatore: Zoo Outreach Organisation/CBSG-South Asia.Google Scholar
  15. NRC (National Research Council). (1981). Techniques for the study of primate population ecology. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  16. Primack, R. B. (2006). Essentials of conservation biology (4th ed.). Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates.Google Scholar
  17. Ramachandran, K. K., & Joseph, G. (2001). Distribution and demography of diurnal primates in Silent Valley National Park and adjacent areas, Kerala, India. Journal of Bombay Natural History Society, 98, 191–196.Google Scholar
  18. Ramachandran, K. K., & Suganthasakthivel, R. (2010). Ecology and behaviour of the arboreal mammals of the Nelliyampathy forests. KFRI Research Report No. 382.Google Scholar
  19. Ramesh, B. R., de Franceschi, D., & Pascal, J. P. (2002). Vegetation map of south India – Map 5: Coimbatore-Thrissur. Pondicherry: Institut Francais de Pondicherry.Google Scholar
  20. Sasidharan, N. (2002). Floristic study in Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary. Kerala Forest Research Institute Peechi, Research Report No. 246.Google Scholar
  21. Singh, M., Singh, M., Kumar, M. A., Kumara, H. N., & D`Souza, L. (1997a). Distribution and research potential of non-human primates in the Aliyar-Valparai sector of Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu, India. Tropical Biodiversity, 4, 197–208.Google Scholar
  22. Singh, M., Singh, M., Kumara, H. N., Kumar, M. A., & D`Souza, L. (1997b). Inter- and intra-specific associations of non-human primates in Anaimalai hills, south India. Mammalia, 61, 17–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Singh, M., Kumara, H. N., Anand Kumar, M., Sharma, A. K., & DeFalco, K. (2000). Status and conservation of lion-tailed macaques and other arboreal mammals in tropical rainforests of Sringeri Forest Range, Western Ghats, Karnataka, India. Primate Report, 58, 5–16.Google Scholar
  24. Singh, M., Singh, M., Kumar, M. A., Kumara, H. N., Sharma, A. K., & Kaumanns, W. (2002). Distribution, population structure and conservation of lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus) in Anaimalai hills, Western Ghats, India. American Journal of Primatology, 57, 91–102.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Singh, M., Kaumanns, W., Singh, M., Sushma, H. S., & Molur, S. (2009). The lion-tailed macaque Macaca silenus (Primates: Cercopithecidae): conservation history and status of a flagship species of the tropical rainforests of the Western Ghats, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa, 1, 151–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Singh, M., Roy, K., & Singh, M. (2011). Resource partitioning in sympatric langurs and macaques in tropical rainforests of the Central Western Ghats, South India. American Journal of Primatology, 73, 335–346.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Suganthasakthivel, R. (2011). Ecology and behaviour of selected arboreal mammals in the southern Western Ghats, India. Ph.D. thesis, FRI University Dehradun.Google Scholar
  28. Sushma, H. S., & Singh, M. (2006). Resource partitioning and interspecific interactions among sympatric rainforest arboreal mammals of the Western Ghats, India. Behavioral Ecology, 17, 479–490.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Sushma, H. S., Rohini, M., Kumara, H. N., Udhayan, A., & Melkani, V. K. (2010). Population survey and conservation of the endangered lion-tailed macaque Macaca silenus in Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu, India. Final technical report submitted to the Tamil Nadu Forest Department.Google Scholar
  30. Umapathy, G., Hussain, S., & Shivaji, S. (2011). Impact of habitat fragmentation on the demography of lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus) populations of Anamalai Hills, Western Ghats, India. International Journal of Primatology, 32, 889–900.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. White, L., & Edwards, A. (2000). Conservation research in the African rain forests: A technical handbook. New York: Wildlife Conservation Society.Google Scholar
  32. Whitesides, G. H., Oates, J. F., Green, S. M., & Kluberdanz, R. P. (1988). Estimating primate densities from transects in a West African rain forest: A comparison of techniques. Journal of Animal Ecology, 57, 345–367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Honnavalli N. Kumara
    • 1
  • R. Sasi
    • 2
  • R. Suganthasakthivel
    • 3
  • Mewa Singh
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
    Email author
  • H. S. Sushma
    • 7
  • K. K. Ramachandran
    • 8
  • Werner Kaumanns
    • 9
  1. 1.Sálim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural HistoryCoimbatoreIndia
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of MadrasChennaiIndia
  3. 3.Kerala Forest Research InstitutePeechiIndia
  4. 4.Biopsychology LaboratoryUniversity of MysoreMysoreIndia
  5. 5.Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific ResearchBangaloreIndia
  6. 6.National Institute of Advanced StudiesBangaloreIndia
  7. 7.Foundation for Ecological Research Advocacy and Learning (FERAL)Auroville P.O.India
  8. 8.Kerala Forest Research InstitutePeechiIndia
  9. 9.LTM Research and ConservationGleichenGermany

Personalised recommendations