Community Based Conservation of the Lion-Tailed Macaques of Nilambur Forests, Kerala, India

Asish Mangalasseri

Lion-tailed macaques (Macaca silenus) (LTM) are an endemic species of primates in Western Ghats of India, and they are assessed as globally endangered as per the IUCN red list. There are only around 3500 individuals in the wild and there are no published records or research on this species in the Nilambur forests from the last two decades. There is a lack of detailed information on this species in the study region. Informal secondary information from the local people indicates that there is a decrease in the population and distribution of LTM in the region. Forest fragmentation and illegal hunting are the main threats to this species. A major interstate highway passing through the LTM habitat here is also posing a threat. The current project will be supporting a larger project to initiate a community-based conservation action research of LTM in the region. Main objectives of the project are as follows:

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1- Improve knowledge and overall conservation status of the endangered Lion-Tailed Macaques

2- Understand indigenous community people’s perception and knowledge about the Lion- Tailed Macaques

3- Develop a community led conservation action plan for protection of the Lion-Tailed Macaques

Using a combination of field surveys and semi structured interviews with local

communities, we will gather information on the population status of the LTM and understand issues and challenges that the LTM faces in the region. Through innovative and creative conservation communication we anticipate a larger awareness will be built towards the importance of conserving the species. Conservation education activities developed in local languages will be planned for the local children either at their schools or in the village.

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