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Keywords:

  • lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus);
  • Anaimalai Hills;
  • Western Ghats;
  • rainforest;
  • fragments;
  • conservation

Abstract

The lion-tailed macaque is an endangered species, and hence it is necessary that the remaining populations in the rainforests of the Western Ghats, India, be located and their habitats assessed for effective conservation. The Anaimalai Hills in the state of Tamil Nadu harbor 31 groups of lion-tailed macaques. However, the rainforest in these hills is highly fragmented. Since lion-tailed macaques are typically arboreal, the groups have become isolated. Two large rain-forest complexes in these hills harbor 12 and seven groups, respectively, and the remaining 12 groups inhabit small, isolated forest fragments. Group size ranges from six to 53 individuals, with a mean size of 16.3. In the small forest fragments, the standard deviation (SD) of group size was considerably higher than it was in the larger forest complexes. The disturbed fragments also had a higher variability in group size than the relatively undisturbed habitats. It is believed that fragmentation may impede male migration. We suggest that the fragments be managed in such a way that male migration among groups can be facilitated to overcome the potential effects of isolation. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.