Effect of human feeding on the road mortality of Rhesus Macaques on National Highway - 7 routed along Pench Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh, India

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A. Pragatheesh


In Hindu mythology, Hanuman is worshipped as the monkey god and therefore there is a great reverence for macaques all across the country. Hindu devotees consider it their sacred duty to feed macaques along road, temples, parks and other public areas. Unfortunately, such food provisioning alters the habitat, food choice and behaviour of macaques. We studied the impact of feeding by humans on Rhesus Macaque Macaca mulatta feeding behaviour, distribution and also assessed the increased risk of accidents in the 11km road stretch of National Highway passing through Kanha-Pench corridor, from August 2009 to July 2010. Seasonal changes in macaque distribution and group sizes were assessed based on foot and vehicle transects. The numbers of road kills were monitored in early morning and late evening hours for different seasons. Five groups of macaques were occupying a minimum of 1.1 to a maximum of 1.7km stretch, together covering about 7.3km of road. Group size varied significantly in relation to the availability of food on the road. During the study, 54 macaques succumbed to road accidents. Maximum roadkill occurred during summer because of the greater inflow of tourists. Unless concerted efforts are made to increase awareness among people of the hazards of road-side feeding, incidences of macaque mortality are likely to increase.

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Author Biography

A. Pragatheesh

A. Pragatheesh is a research fellow pursuing doctoral research at the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) on the topic “Assessment of the existing National Highway – 7 and its proposed widening on habitat use and movement of wild animals in Pench Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradeshâ€.

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