Rhesus - Macaque
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Indian Rhesus Macaque is one among the wide spread species in the Indian Subcontinent,
which is also scientifically called as Macaca Mulatta. It belongs to the family Cercopithecidae and genus is called as Macaca. The species is also called as Rhesus Monkeys. The quick classification of this species is as below,
The male Rhesus macaques weigh higher than that of female Rhesus macaques, male species weighing 7 to 8 kgs and female species 5 to 6 kgs, respectively. They do have a medium length tail from 8 to 9 inches at an average. Temporarily they store food in their cheeks at times. Like that of human beings, monkeys also have 32 teeth.
Distribution and Habitat
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Indian Rhesus Macaques are seen wide spread in the Indian Subcontinent and that too mostly in the northern regions of India.
They do not have specific dependent temperature or climatic conditions, hence they are seen almost in many different areas having different temperatures, arid zones, semi desert, Forests, Mountains lesser than 2500 meters of altitude and places where common people habitat is lower. It is to be noted that Indian Rhesus Macaques are known for its swimming capability and that comes naturally, they can swim in water from very few days after birth.
Rhesus macaques are hence known for its intelligence and seen in groups and settling where the water source is adequate. At times, some of these species tend to move to human living places to look for food refused by them.
Murlen National park: Murlen National Park is located in the state of Mizoram and among several National parks in the state, Murlen Park is considered as one of the best wild life sanctuary. The Murlen National Park extends upto a range of 100 sq. km. and is just near the Myanmar border with Indian Subcontinent.
Wild animals mostly seen are, Rhesus Macaque, Tiger, Leopard, Malayan giant, Sambar, Hoolock gibbon, Hume's Pheasant, Barking deer, Himalayan Black Bear, Serow, squirrel, Kallej Pheasant, Common partridges, Hill myna and dark rumped swift.
In the state of Mizoram, many wildlife sanctuaries are found where Rhesus Macaque is widely seen and they are Ngengpui Wildlife Sanctuary, Lengteng Wildlife Sanctuary, and Phawngpui National park. Ngengpui wildlife sanctuary is comparatively higher in area of around 110 sq. km and Lengteng wildlife sanctuary with 60 Sq. km and Phawngpui National Park covering an area of 50 sq. km. Lengteng and Phawngpui National parks are having a maximum altitude above 2300 meters.
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Sariska Tiger Reserve: The Sariska Tiger Reserve is a national park in India located in the Alwar district of Rajasthan.
The park is situated at a distance of 107 km from Jaipur and 200 km from Delhi. This area was a hunting reserve and it was declared a wildlife reserve in 1955. In 1978, the park was given the rank of a tiger reserve making it a part of India's Project Tiger system. The current area of the park is 866 kms. Most commonly spotted carnivores here are leopard, Bengal tiger, Rhesus Macaque, wild jackal, wild dog, sambhar, chital, hyena, wild cat, nilgai, wild boar, etc.
Manas National Park: Manas National Park is situated in the north banks of the river Brahmaputra and the River Manas flows through the Park, the Park is coming under the foothills of northern part of Himalayas in the Indian Subcontinent. The state of Assam holds the park under control and also the northern parts of the Park is under the regions of Bhutan and is called as Royal Manas National Park.
The Manas National Park covers an area of around 3840 sq. kms, also called as Manas Tiger Reserve. The best seen wild life species are Indian Red Pandas, Rhesus Macaques, Wild Buffalo, Pygmy Hog and Golden Langur. Apart from these endangered species 50 to 55 other endangered mammals are also seen here.
Sundarbans National Park: The Sundarbans National Park is a National Park, UNESCO World tradition Site and a Biosphere Reserve located in the Sundarbans delta in the Indian state of West Bengal. It has an awe-inspiring flora with about 58 species of mammals. Most commonly spotted carnivores here are Leopards, Bengal tiger, rhinoceros, wild hogs, wild buffaloes, wild cats, monkeys, barking deer, etc.
Gir National Park: The Gir National Park is situated in the Gujarat with an area of 120 square-miles with rich flora and habitat. Primarily, it is the home for Lions and has the largest leopard population compared to other national park in India. Leopards can be seen at the border of the park during the summer seasons. Other Wildlife here includes Sambar deer, Chital, Jackal, Hyena, and Rhesus Monkeys. Jeep safari is conducted in order to view all the wildlife at Gir National park.
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Rhesus Macaques do not have specific seasonal mating and they would mate at any time.
During the period of breeding around 1 to 4 male Macaques might mate with a female. The gestation period of female would be from 135 to 195 days. The Rhesus Macaques gets sexually matured after some years, for male it is 4 years and female it is 3 years. Female Macaques are mostly responsible for raising the young macaques; especially they show more interest towards their female daughters when compared to that of male infants. Almost every year the female Macaque gives birth to one cub.
Indian Rhesus Macaques are herbivores in nature and they diet on plant leaves, herbs, fruits, and roots and sometimes they do have small insects. Their diet also varies from one region to another region; Macaques in groups will also swim across water to search for herbs and crops.
• Macaca mulatta lasiota
• Macaca mulatta mulatta
• Macaca mulatta sanctijohannis
• Macaca mulatta vestita
• Macaca mulatta villosa
Population of Rhesus Macaques in India
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The Rhesus Macaques are wide spread in the Indian subcontinent, mostly in the northern parts.
The population status of Rhesus Macaques is at higher level and even the wild life protection status for the species is 'Least Concern' due to its population strength being more. Usually these animals are seen in larger groups numbering more than 100 and form social animal troop guided by female Macaques. The troops will be more comprising of female Rhesus Macaques than that of male Rhesus Macaques, which would be in the ratio of 4:1- Female to Male. They do prefer regions where temperature is almost constant and does not have wide variations.
Indian Rhesus Macaques are having fewer threats with Humans, since it is considered as a sacred animal in several parts of the Indian Subcontinent and they are left undisturbed. It has wild life predators like dogs, weasels, raptors, crocodiles, tigers, lions, leopards, etc., even though rare occasions can be seen that Rhesus Macaques being killed. While the animal has been hunted down for poaching in other countries like Laos, Vietnam and in China, resulting in decline of its population at a higher level.
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also Rhesus is also given in the name of a King called Rhesus of Thrace. It is written in Great epic of Indian history called Ramayana, where a place mentioned as 'Kishkinda' was believed to have a ruler named 'Vali' (Macaque) and the Kingdom with primates of different Macaques like Rhesus macaques, bonnet and stump tailed macaque as well. The Great God named Hanuman is believed to have the nature of Rhesus Macaque in the Hindu mythology.
• It is due to the significant reason that Rhesus Macaques are somewhat like the human primates,they are used for research in identifying the drugs on HIV cure, threatening FLU diseases,etc.
• It should be known Rhesus Macaques were used in the Satellite research and NASA (American Space Research) used these species for testing the presence as inhuman primate in the launch to outer space, in the 1950's. Rhesus Macaque was the first wild species sent to outer space and returned alive.
• Rhesus Macaques are known for their swimming capabilities and they are good swimmers starting from their very young age even after some three to four days from the day of their birth.