This website does readability filtering of other pages. All styles, scripts, forms and ads are stripped. If you want your website excluded or have other feedback, use this form.

How South India is losing its endemic bonnet monkey to the aggressive rhesus macaque from the north


South India is losing its endemic bonnet monkey to an aggressive invader from the north

The species’ population has halved in just over a decade.

by  Vinita Govindarajan Published Sep 04, 2017 · 12:30 pm
MK Sapthagirish

The bonnet monkey, commonly found at temples in South India, is losing its ground. Researchers have observed that the monkey, endemic to peninsular India, is being steadily replaced by the aggressive rhesus monkey from northern parts of the country.

Two research teams led by Mewa Singh of the University of Mysore and HN Kumara of Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, Coimbatore, have been monitoring the population of the bonnet monkey in southern India for 25 years. “Most people tend to think that bonnet macaques are found in abundance, but when we started assessing their numbers in agricultural fields and forests, we found they were declining,” said Kumara.

Although the bonnet monkey has the conservation status of “least concern”, the scientists believe the species may soon become endangered given the incursion of the more dominant rhesus monkey and the resultant loss of habitat.

Aggressive invader

The population of the bonnet monkey, which usually resides in non-forested areas and vegetated roadsides, has declined by around 50% in southern Indian between 2003 and 2015.

“It has also been observed that the rhesus macaque with a larger body size and more aggressive temperament than the bonnet macaque displaced the latter from food and preferred habitats if an encounter occurred between the two species,” the researchers said.

A survey, conducted from 2004 to 2008, of the populations of rhesus and bonnet macaques across various zones in peninsular India found that rhesus macaque had gained ground since 1981, when the previous such study was done. In about 25 years, the rhesus monkey had extended their range by about 3,500 sq km into the traditional habitat of the bonnet monkey.

In 2014 and 2015, Singh and Kumara conducted another survey across various temple and tourists places in southern India, as well as forest areas. They found that, combined with the previous surveys, the rhesus macaque had invaded nearly 28,000 sq km of the bonnet macaque’s habitat in less than four decades.

“We did not find the bonnet monkey in many places they were found earlier,” said Kumara. He explained that with the unceasing movement of the aggressive rhesus macaque to the South, the endemic species was losing its range area. The rhesus macaque is also a fast breeder. “There may not be direct aggression, but once the resource is occupied by another group, the bonnet monkey has to move away,” Kumara said. “In that way, it is a very gradual process.”

Landscape changes

Urbanisation, reduced canopy connectivity and changes in roadside landscape too have contributed to the decline of the bonnet moneky by more than 65% in the past 25 years, the researchers found.

In a case study of roadside habitats spread over 464 km around Mysore, Karnataka, the researchers found that compared to 889 bonnet monkeys seen in 2003, there were only 407 in 2015. The number of their groups had also come down sharply from 42 to 24 in this period. “Many single roads have now been converted into lane roads and the dense vegetation of banyan trees has been replaced by barren lands and urban structures,” Singh told The Hindu, emphasizing that this loss of traditional habitat was also leading to the bonnet monkey’s decline.

Since monkeys are often considered a menace, many are killed or translocated to other areas by forest officials, said Kumara. Of those translocated, many die because of stress or inability to adapt to the changes in habitat or climate.

The researchers have called for devising conservation strategies to prevent the bonnet monkey from getting to the brink of extinction. Noting that populations of the bonnet macaque is still relatively stable in vegetated hillocks with temples, such as Chamundi, they have suggested that such hillocks be turned into conservation reserves for the species.

We welcome your comments at [email protected]
Sponsored Content BY 

Why should inclusion matter to companies?

It's not just about goodwill - inclusivity is a good business decision.

Published Mar 14, 2018 · 08:32 pm

To reach a 50-50 workplace scenario, policies on diversity need to be paired with a culture of inclusiveness. While diversity brings equal representation in meetings, board rooms, promotions and recruitment, inclusivity helps give voice to the people who might otherwise be marginalized or excluded. Inclusion at workplace can be seen in an environment that values diverse opinions, encourages collaboration and invites people to share their ideas and perspectives. As Verna Myers, a renowned diversity advocate, puts it “Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance.”

Creating a sense of belonging for everyone is essential for a company’s success. Let’s look at some of the real benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace:

Better decision making

A whitepaper by Cloverpop, a decision making tool, established a direct link between inclusive decision making and better business performance. The research discovered that teams that followed an inclusive decision-making process made decisions 2X faster with half the meetings and delivered 60% better results. As per Harvard Business School Professor Francesca Gino, this report highlights how diversity and inclusion are practical tools to improve decision making in companies. According to her, changing the composition of decision making teams to include different perspectives can help individuals overcome biases that affect their decisions.

Higher job satisfaction

Employee satisfaction is connected to a workplace environment that values individual ideas and creates a sense of belonging for everyone. A research by Accenture identified 40 factors that influence advancement in the workplace. An empowering work environment where employees have the freedom to be creative, innovative and themselves at work, was identified as a key driver in improving employee advancement to senior levels.


A research by stated the in India, 62% of innovation is driven by employee perceptions of inclusion. The study included responses from 1,500 employees from Australia, China, Germany, India, Mexico and the United States and showed that employees who feel included are more likely to go above and beyond the call of duty, suggest new and innovative ways of getting work done.

Competitive Advantage

Shirley Engelmeier, author of ‘Inclusion: The New Competitive Business Advantage’, in her interview with Forbes, talks about the new global business normal. She points out that the rapidly changing customer base with different tastes and preferences need to feel represented by brands. An inclusive environment will future-proof the organisation to cater to the new global consumer language and give it a competitive edge.

An inclusive workplace ensures that no individual is disregarded because of their gender, race, disability, age or other social and cultural factors. Accenture has been a leading voice in advocating equal workplace. Having won several accolades including a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate equality index, Accenture has demonstrated inclusive and diverse practices not only within its organisation but also in business relationships through their Supplier Inclusion and Diversity program.

In a video titled ‘She rises’, Accenture captures the importance of implementing diverse policies and creating an inclusive workplace culture.


To know more about inclusion and diversity, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Accenture and not by the Scroll editorial team.

Support the Free Press
Pay for Scroll+