‘Bonnet Monkey’ in News

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The bonnet macaque also known as zati (Macaca radiata) is a macaque endemic to southern India. Its distribution is limited by the Indian Ocean on three sides and the Godavari and Tapti Rivers along with a related competing species of rhesus macaque in the north.

Land use changes in the last few decades have resulted in changes in its distribution boundaries with the rhesus macaque, raising concern for its status in the wild.

This Old World monkey is a diurnal animal. It is 35–60 cm long plus a tail of 35–68 cm. Males weigh 5.5 to 9.0 kg, females 3.5 to 4.5 kg. Captive monkey can live up to 35 years.

The bonnet macaque feeds on fruits, nuts, seeds, flowers, invertebrates, and cereals. In southern India, this macaque exists as commensal to humans, feeding on food given by humans and raiding crops and houses.

Two subspecies of bonnet macaques have been identified: M. r. radiata and M. r. diluta.

Researchers, including a scientist from Mysuru, have found that the common bonnet monkey of South India may soon become an ‘endangered’ species.

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