Series: Records of the Zoological Survey of India Occasional Papers Volume: 116
88 pages, 1 plate with illustrations; b/w illustrations, b/w maps
Populations of the commoner species of non-human primates like, Rhesus macaque Macaca mulatta, Bonnet macaque Macaca radiata, and Hanuman langur Presbytis entellus living in a feral condition, and also as commensal around human settlements in the countryside and towns as opposed to their forest populations, were quite sizeable in India. These rural and urban populations were treated with tolerance by people on religious and ethical considerations. However, under mounting economic pressure, the traditional tolerance by the people tended to get eroded and transformed into confrontation, which put the survival of these populations under severe stress. Added to this, the commercial trafficking in species like Rhesus macaque, that developed in the wake of increased importance of its usage in biomedical research, especially in developed countries, and the similar but relatively recent spurt of usage of bonnet macaque and Hanuman langur for such purposes within the country, contributed to their general population decline. In order to ensure conservation of these species on a sustained yield basis, it soon became evident that baseline data on several aspects needed to be collected, especially on the present general status of the populations of different species, the major habitats of these, and the significant ecological determinants affecting their survival and those needed for conservation. A series of nationwide surveys were, therefore, initiated in India to obtain such an overview of the primate populations of above species under two projects, one for northern and the other for southern India from 1977 to 1980. Together the two surveys (north and south) by the Zoological Survey of India represent the first ever total national surveys of non-human primates.
The surveys focused on the feral and commensal populations ranging in the rural and urban countryside, with twin considerations; first, that more than the forest populations it is this section of population that is fast dwindling, and second, that being more accessible, these populations could be earmarked for sustained use in research, if and when permissible on the basis of results achieved. Forest populations then could be naturally conserved intact.
This report presents the results of census surveys conducted on the Bonnet Macaque Macaca radiata (E. Geoffroy), in the country side (rural and urban panchayat areas) in four states of southern India from 1977 to 1980, which represent the first ever extensive census surveys on the species.
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