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Keywords:

  • macaques;
  • China;
  • conservation;
  • reproduction

Abstract

Rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) at the Nanwan peninsula of Hainan Island, China, have been observed in the field for 25 years, and have been studied intensively for eight years, beginning in 1981. There were about 115 monkeys in 5 natural groups when the Nanwan Reserve was founded in 1965. From 1965 to 1984, the number of groups increased from 5 to 19, and the total population increased from 115 to 930 individuals, an annual population increase of 12.7%. From 1984 to 1987, the population continued a slower rate of increase (8.9%) to approximately 1200 monkeys in 20 groups. The home ranges of each monkey group at Nanwan varied from 0.16 to 0.72 km2, with a mean and standard deviation of 0.37 ± 0.18. The size of the home range of the rhesus was affected by the quality of vegetation and rhesus population density. The average birth rate per year was 77.8 ± 13.9%, varying from 53.8% to 100% since 1978. From 1978, the birth rates of two food provisioned groups were higher in alternate years (x̄ = 91.7%) and lower in intervening years (x̄ = 68.8%; P = <0.01). A minority (26.5%) of females have given birth at 4 years of age, most at 5 years. The sex ratio of newborns in any one year varied from 0.3 to 3.5 males to females, with a mean and standard error of 1.09 ± 0.37 males to females.