Rhesus Macaque Macaca mulatta (Mammalia: Primates: Cercopithecidae) in a human-modified landscape: population, activity budget, and societal perceptions in Bangladesh

Main Article Content

Sufia Akter Neha
Mohammad Ashraf Ul Hasan
Mohammad Abdul Baki
Subrina Sehrin


Rhesus Macaques are widely distributed and ecologically diverse primate species that attract special focus from the research and conservation approaches. We studied population, activity budget, and societal perceptions of Rhesus Macaque at Old Dhaka City, Bangladesh from March 2015 to February 2016. Total count was used to determine the group size and composition. Daily activity budgets of Rhesus Macaques were studied using scan sampling method. Questionnaire survey was conducted to know the attitudes of local people towards monkey conservation in the area. Seven groups with a total of 169 individuals were recorded. The population density was 15.5 individuals/ km² and group size ranged from 8 to 63 individuals.  Rhesus Macaque spent most of their time in resting (38.5%) followed by feeding (25.7%), moving (18.4%), grooming (12.8%), and playing or object manipulation (4.6%). There was a significant variation in each behavioral activity among the age-sex classes. Questionnaire survey revealed that property damage was the main problem created by the monkeys. A significant majority of people (83.4%) held a positive outlook toward conservation of this species. Variables such as religion, education, and occupation of the respondents significantly influenced their opinion about conservation. These findings have implications for not only conservation and management interventions of Rhesus Macaque but also helpful for minimizing human-monkey interactions in urban areas. 

Article Details



Ahsan, M.F. & M.M. Uddin (2014). Human-Rhesus Monkey conflict at Rampur Village under Monohardi Upazila in Narsingdi District of Bangladesh. Journal of Threatened Taxa 6(6): 5905–5908. https://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o3818.5905-8

Akonda, A.W. (1976). Study of population and activity patterns of Rhesus monkey Macaca mulatta zimmermann. MSc Thesis (Unpublished). University of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Amano, N., Y.V. Wang, N. Boivin & P. Roberts (2021). ‘Emptying forests?’ Conservation implications of past human-primate interactions. Trends in Ecology Evolution 36(4): 345–359. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2020.12.004

Altmann, J. (1974). Observational study of behaviour: sampling methods. Behavior 49: 227–267.

Beisner, B.A., A. Heagerty, S.K. Seil, K.N. Balasubramaniar, E.R. Atwill, B.K. Gupta, P.C. Tyagi, N.P.S. Chauhan, B.S. Bonal, P.R. Sinha & B. McCowan (2015). Human-wildlife conflict: proximate predictors of aggression between humans and rhesus macaques in India. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 156: 286–294.

Bernstein, I.S. (1968). The lutong of Kuala Selenger. Behavior 32: 1–16.

Bibby C., N. Burgess, N. Burgess & D. Hill (1992). Bird Census Techniques. Academic press, London, 257pp.

Brent, L. & Y. Veira (2002). Social Behavior of Captive Indochinese and Insular Long-Tailed Macaques (Macaca fascicularis) Following Transfer to a New Facility. International Journal of Primatology 23: 147–159.

da Silva, F.A., G.R. Canale, M.C. Kierulff, G.T. Duarte, A.P. Paglia & C.S. Bernardo (2016). Hunting, pet trade, and forest size effects on population viability of a critically endangered Neotropical primate, Sapajus xanthosternos (Wied-Neuwied, 1826). American Journal of Primatology 78: 950–960.

El Alami A., E. Van Lavieren, A. Rachida & A. Chait (2012). Differences in activity budgets and diet between semi provisioned and wild-feeding groups of the endangered Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus) in the central High Atlas Mountains, Morocco. American Journal of Primatology 74: 210–216.

Eudey, A.A. (1994). Temple and pet primates in Thailand. Ecology Review (Earth and Life) 49: 273–280.

Feeroz, M.M., M.A. Islam & M. Kabir (1995). Status distribution and conservation of primates of Bangladesh. Kyoto University Overseas Research Report of Studies on Asian Non-human Primates 9: 73–82.

Gittins, S.P. (1980). A Survey of the Primates of Bangladesh. Project Report to the Forest Department of Bangladesh, 64pp.

Green, D.M. (2003). The ecology of extinction: population fluctuation and decline in amphibians. Biological Conservation 111: 331–343.

Green, K.M. (1978). Primates of Bangladesh: a preliminary survey of population and habitat. Biological Conservation 13: 11–160.

Hambali, K., A. Ismail & B.M. Md-Zain (2012). Daily Activity Budget of Long-tailed Macaques (Macaca fascicularis) in Kuala Selangor Nature Park. International Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences 12: 47–52.

Hasan, M.K., M.A. Aziz, S.R. Alam, Y. Kawamoto, L. Jones-Engel, R.C. Kyes, S. Akhtar, S. Begum & M.M. Feeroz (2013). Distribution of Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta) in Bangladesh: Inter-population Variation in Group Size and Composition. Primate Conservation 26: 125–132.

Hasan, M.K., M.M. Feeroz, L. Jones-Engel, G.A. Engel, S. Akhtar, S. Kanthaswamy & D.G. Smith (2016). Performing monkeys of Bangladesh: characterizing their source and genetic variation. Primates 57: 221–230.

Hasan, M.A.U., M.U.H. Khatun & S.A. Neha (2018). Group size, composition and conservation challenges of Capped Langur (Trachypithecus pileatus) in Satchari National Park, Bangladesh. Jagannath University Journal of Life and Earth Sciences 4: 135–153.

Hill, C.M. (1998). Conflicting attitudes towards elephants around the Budongo Forest Reserve, Uganda. Environmental Conservation 25: 244–250. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0376892998000307

IUCN Bangladesh (2015). Red Book of Bangladesh Vol. 2 - Mammals. IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, Bangladesh Country Office, Dhaka, i-xi+281pp.

Jaman, M.F. & M.A. Huffman (2008). Enclosure environment affects the activity budgets of captive Japanese Macaques (Macaca fuscata). American Journal of Primatology 70: 1133–1144.

Jaman, M.F. & M.A. Huffman (2013). The effect of urban and rural habitats and resource type on activity budgets of commensal rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) in Bangladesh. Primates 54:49 – 59. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10329-012-0330-6

Kabir, M.M. (2002). Behavioural ecology of two sympatric langur species in the semi-evergreen forest of Bangladesh. PhD Thesis. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK (unpublished).

Khatun, M.U.H., M.F. Ahsan & E. Røskaft (2012). Feeding behaviour and ecology of the common langurs (Semnopithecus entellus) of Keshabpur in Bangladesh. Proceedings of the International Conference on Biodiversity – Present State, Problems and Prospects of its Conservation, Chittagong, Bangladesh, NTNU.

Khatun, U.H., M.F. Ahsan & E. Røskaft (2013). Local people’s perceptions of crop damage by Common Langurs (Semnopithecus entellus) and human-langur conflict in Keshabpur of Bangladesh. Environment and Natural Resources Research, 3(1): 111 – 126. https://doi.org/10.5539/enrr.v3n1p111

Kipper, S. & D. Todt (2002). The use of vocal signals in the social play of Barbary Macaques. Primates 43: 3–15.

Knight, J. (1999). Monkeys on the move: the natural symbolism of people macaque conflict in Japan. The Journal of Asian Studies 58: 622–647.

Krebs, J.R. & N.B. Davies (1993). An Introduction to Behavioral Ecology. Blackwell Scientific Publications, London, 420pp.

Lazaro-Perea, C., M.F. De Arruda & C.T. Snowdon (2004). Grooming as a reward? Social function of grooming between females in cooperatively breeding marmosets. Animal Behaviour 67: 627–636.

Lwanga, J.S., T.T. Struhsaker, P.J. Struhsaker, T.M. Butynski & J.C. Mitani (2011). Primate population dynamics over 32.9 years at Ngogo, Kibale National Park, Uganda. American Journal of Primatology 73: 997–1011.

Malaivijitnond, S., Y. Hamada, P. Varavudhi & O. Takenaka (2005). The current distribution and status of macaques in Thailand. The Natural History Journal of Chulalongkorn University Supplement 1: 35–45.

Malik, I. & C.H. Southwick (1988). Feeding behavior and activity patterns of rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) at Tughlaqabad, India, pp. 95–112. In: Southwick, C.H. & J.E. Fa (eds.). Ecology and Behavior of Food-enhanced Primate Groups. Alan R. Liss Inc., New York, 355pp.

Maestripieri, D. & C.L. Hoffman (2012). Behavior and Social Dynamics of Rhesus Macaques on Cayo Santiago, pp. 247–262. In: Wang, Q. (eds.). Bones, Genetics, and Behavior of Rhesus Macaques. Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects. Springer, New York, 308pp.

Md-Zain, B.M., N.A. Sha`ari, M. Mohd-Zaki, F. Ruslin, N.I. Idris, M.D. Kadderi & W.M.R. Idris (2010). A comprehensive population Survey and Daily Activity Budget on Long-tailed Macaque of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Journal of Biological Sciences 10: 608–615.

Menard, N. (2004). Do Ecological Factor Explain Variation in Social Organization? pp. xv+418. In: Thierry, B., M. Singh & W. Kaumanns (eds.). Macaque Societies: A model for the Study of Social Organization. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 440pp.

Mittermeier, R.A. (1986). Strategies for the conservation of highly endangered primates, pp. 1013–1022. In: Benirschke, K. (ed.). Primates: The Road to Self-sustaining Populations. Springer-Verlag, London, 1044pp.

Naher, H., S.I. Khan & T. Ahmed (2016). Population status and distribution of rhesus macaque, Macaca mulatta, in a moist deciduous forest of Bangladesh. Bangladesh Journal of Zoology 44: 61–72.

Naples, V. & B. Rothschild (2015). Play Behavior in Primates. Journal of Primatology 4(2): 1000e132. https://doi.org/10.4172/2167-6801.1000e132

Neha, S.A., M.U.H. Khatun& M.A.U. Hasan (2020). Feeding behavior of the Western Hoolock Gibbon (Hoolock hoolock) in Bangladesh: response to temporal variation of food sources. Primate Conservation 34: 185–194.

Neha, S.A., M.U.H. Khatun & M.A.U. Hasan (2021). Resource partitioning and niche overlap between hoolock gibbon (Hoolock hoolock) and other frugivorous vertebrates in a tropical semi-evergreen forest. Primates Available online 3 February 2021. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10329-021-00888-9

Okekedunu, J.O., B.G. Ogunjemite, I.A. Adeyemo & O.E. Olaniyi (2014). Daily activity budget of mona monkey (Cercopithecus monaschreber) in Ibodi monkey forest, Osun state, Nigeria. FUTA Journal of Research and Science 10: 218–227.

Oppenheimer, J.R., A.W. Akonda & K.Z. Husain (1983). Rhesus monkeys: Effect of habitat structure, human contact and religious beliefs on population size, pp. 193-199. In: Seth, P.K. (ed.). Perspectives in Primate Biology. Today and Tomorrow’s Printers and Publishers, New Delhi, 330pp.

Passamani, M. (1998). Activity budget of geoffroy’s marmoset (Callithrix geoffroyi) in an Atlantic forest in Southeastern Brazil. American Journal of Primatology 46: 333–340.

Peres, C.A. (1993). Diet and feeding ecology of Saddleback (Saguinus fuscicollis) and moustached (S. mystax) tamarins in an Amazonian Terra firme forest. Journal of Zoology 230: 567–592.

Pirta, R.S., M. Gadgil & A.V. Kharshikar (1997). Management of the rhesus monkey, Macaca mulatta and hanuman langur Presbytis entellus in Himachal Pradesh, India. Biological Conservation 79: 97–106.

Pollard, K.A. & D.T. Blumstein (2008). Time allocation and evolution of group size. Animal Behaviour 76: 1683–1699.

Richard, A.F., S.J. Godstein & R.E. Dewar (1989). Weed macaques: The evolutionary implications of macaque feeding ecology. International Journal of Primatology 6: 569–594.

Rodway, M.S. (1998). Activity patterns, diet and feeding efficiency of Harlequin Ducks breeding in northern Labrador. Canadian Journal of Zoology 76: 902–909.

Southwick, C.H., M.A. Beg & M.R. Siddiqi (1961). A population survey of rhesus monkeys in northern India: II. Transportation routes and forest areas. Ecological society of America 42: 698–710.

Southwick, C.H. & M.F. Siddiqi (1994). Population status of nonhuman primates in Asia, with emphasis on rhesus macaques in India. American Journal of Primatology 34: 51–59.

Southwick, C.H., I. Malik & M.F. Siddiqi (2005). Rhesus commensalism in India: problems and prospects, pp. 241–257. In: Peterson, J.D. & J. Wallis (eds.). Commensalism and Conflict: The Human Primate Interface. American Society of Primatologists, Norman.

Stanford, C.B. (1991). The capped langur in Bangladesh: behavioral ecology and reproductive tactics. Contributions to Primatology 26: 1–179.

Strum, S.C. (1994). Prospects for managements for primate pests. Ecology Review (Earth and Life) 49: 295–306.

Sultana, R. (2012). Status and Distribution of Rhesus Macaque, Macaca mulatta in Metropolitan Dhaka City. Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Science 38: 175–181.

Sultana, A., S. Hasan, M. Hossain, A. Alim, M.A. Mamun & K. Bashar (2018). Larval breeding habitats and ecological factors influence the species composition of mosquito (Diptera: Culicidae) in the parks of Dhaka city, Bangladesh. Bangladesh Journal of Zoology 45: 111–122.

Teas, J., H. Taylor, T. Richie & C.H. Southwick (1975). Nepal rhesus studies: ecological influences on the behavior of rhesus monkeys in Kathmandhu Valley (Progress Reports of the National Geographic Society). National Geographic Society, Washington, DC.

Teas, J., T. Richie, H. Taylor & C.H. Southwick (1980). Population patterns and behavioral ecology of rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) in Nepal, pp. 247–262. In: Lindburg, D.G. (ed.). The Macaques: Studies in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution. Van Nostrand, New York, xiv+384pp.

Watanuki, Y. & Y. Nakayama (1993). Age difference in activity pattern of Japanese monkeys: effects of temperature, snow and diet. Primates 34: 419–430.

Wolfheim, J.H. (1983). Primates of the World: Distribution, Abundance, and Conservation. University of Washington Press, Seattle, WA, xiii+831pp.