Lion-tailed macaque

Macaca silenus - Cercopithecidae - Primates. | Valparai, Tamilnadu
Canon EOS 7D, , ISO 200, Shutter speed 1/60 Sec, Aperture f/4.5

Lion-tailed macaque


The Lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus) is a species of Old World monkey that is native to the Western Ghats of South India. It is one of the most endangered primates in the world, with a population estimated to be fewer than 4,000 individuals.

Appearance and Characteristics

The Lion-tailed macaque is a medium-sized monkey, measuring about 45-60 cm (18-24 inches) in length and weighing 3-10 kg (6.6-22 lb). It has black fur with a characteristic lion-like mane of gray or silver color. The tail is relatively short, measuring only about 10-15 cm (4-6 inches) in length. The face is hairless and has a dark, almost black coloration.

Habitat and Distribution

The Lion-tailed macaque is primarily found in the evergreen forests of the Western Ghats in South India, particularly in the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka. It inhabits the upper canopy of the forest and is adapted to life in the trees.

Behavior and Diet

The Lion-tailed macaque is a diurnal animal and is most active during the early morning and late afternoon. It is an arboreal species, spending most of its time in the trees. It is also an omnivore, feeding on a variety of foods including fruit, leaves, flowers, insects, and small vertebrates.

The Lion-tailed macaque lives in small groups of about 10-20 individuals, led by a dominant male. It is a social species, with individuals engaging in grooming and other forms of social behavior.

Conservation Status

The Lion-tailed macaque is listed as "Endangered" on the IUCN Red List, with a decreasing population trend. The main threats to the species are habitat loss due to deforestation and fragmentation, as well as hunting and poaching. The Indian government has taken steps to protect the species, including establishing protected areas and implementing conservation programs. The population of Lion-tailed macaques has shown some signs of recovery in recent years, but continued conservation efforts are needed to ensure the long-term survival of the species.