Decline of the Endangered lion-tailed macaque Macaca silenus in the Western Ghats, India

Publication Type:

Journal Articles


Oryx, Cambridge University Press, Volume 43, Number 2, p.292–298 (2009)



Fragmentation, India, Karnataka, lion-tailed macaque, Macaca silenus, rainforest, Western Ghats.


The Endangered lion-tailed macaque Macaca silenus is endemic to rainforest patches of the Western Ghats mountains in south-western India. Most populations of this primate are severely fragmented and declining and the species is locally extinct in some areas. This study evaluates the status of this macaque in the Talakaveri, Pushpagiri and Sharavathi Valley Wildlife Sanctuaries and adjacent areas in the state of Karnataka. We sighted four, two and three groups, consisting of five, nine and 14 individuals, in these three sanctuaries, respectively. The recently discovered population in the Sirsi-Honnavara area of Karnataka state is possibly the only viable population, with .750 individuals, but is confined to unprotected reserve forests with extensive human habitation, agricultural land and livestock reserves. We make recommendations for the long-term conservation of the species, and for the Sirsi-Honnavara population in particular.


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