Monday, 30 August 2010

Bonnet Macaque Monkey

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The Bonnet Macaques (Macaca radiata) are a breed of monkeys that are endemic (in the wild) to South India. Its distribution is geographically limited by various Indian rivers.

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The monkeys get their name from the cap-like whorl of hair atop their head, which resembles a cap or a bonnet.

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Their fur is a golden yellow to greyish brown in colour and they have a red face to complement that.

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They are highly sociable animals, occurring in large groups comprising males, females and young ones. Generally the females outnumber the males.

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They are also highly territorial and they aggressively defend their territory from other groups. They feed on fruits, nuts, seeds, flowers small invertebrates etc.  However, they generally occur around human habitation and are becoming a nuisance to man.

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Their groups comprise a dominance hierarchy, where the alpha male and female are the most dominant individuals, followed by the individuals in the beta, gamma etc. positions. The higher ranking individuals have first choice to breeding females.

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These monkeys are highly intelligent and have well developed social interactions.

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The males employ different means to rise within the ranks. this includes forming coalitions with unrelated males to oust the more dominant males.

These images were shot at the Periyar national park where these monkeys are a common sighting and are fast becoming a menacing nuisance to tourists.