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