Lion-tailed macaques are only located in southwestern India. Here they inhabit tropical evergreen and montane forests within the Western Ghats mountain range. Lion-tailed macaques spend the majority of their lives in the treetops where they will find food and safety.

Lion-tailed macaques are omnivores. Their diet consists of fruits, nuts, seeds, leaves and insects.

Lion-tailed macaques are approximately 1.5 – 2 feet in height, and have a tail length of of 1 – 2 feet. They generally weigh between 10 – 25 pounds. The body of a lion-tailed macaque is covered in long, black hair. Around their faces grow silvery manes, and at the tips of their tails are balls of fur. These characteristics give them somewhat similar characteristics to lions, which is where their names are derived from.

Like many primates, lion-tailed macaques have a number of ways of communicating with one another. This communication may come in the form of gestures, screams, growls or other vocalizations and could be used for a variety of reasons, such as warning other macaques of danger.

The pregnancy or gestation period for female lion-tailed macaques lasts approximately 5 – 6 months. They will most often give birth to one offspring. Lion-tailed macaques are endangered. One of the primary reasons for this, as with many forest animals, is the loss of their habitat.

The lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus) is a primate that spends most of its time up within trees. These Old World monkeys have lengthy, tufted and slender tails that resemble those of lions, hence their naming. Lion-tailed macaques have rather meek and reclusive dispositions, and because of that do not generally travel very far out of their forest home ranges. In terms of lifespan, these creatures often exceed 30 years in age.
Sponsored Link

These moderately-sized monkeys live only in the southwestern region of India — specifically within the Western Ghats. This mountainous region encompasses several Indian states, including Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. Lion-tailed macaques are found nowhere else in the world. They usually are up in trees, although they occasionally come down too. Typical settings for these macaques are tropical rainforests, damp and thick evergreen forests, disturbed forests and monsoon forests — all within hilly and mountainous locales.

Lion-tailed macaques have soft, glossy black fur and gray manes similar to those of male lions. Although the genders are physically similar, male lion-tailed macaques are usually a little bit bigger. Female varieties tip the scales at around 11 pounds, while males are around 15 pounds, according to the Bristol Zoo. Their physiques are generally 20 to 24 inches in total length.

Free-roaming members of this species are mostly folivorous and frugivorous creatures, meaning that they eat a lot of foliage and fruits. Some prominent components of the lion-tailed macaque diet, apart from leaves and fruits, include tree bark, nuts, buds, roots, sprouts, nestlings of birds, lizards, frogs, eggs and bugs. They also occasionally dine on smaller mammal species. In captive environments, these monkeys typically eat diets that consist of mealworms, grains, seeds, crickets, peanuts, fresh produce, hard-boiled eggs and monkey chow.

Male lion-tailed macaques generally achieve reproductive maturity when they’re around 8 years old, indicates the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. For females, the age is more around 5 years old. The typical gestation duration for these monkeys is roughly 165 days. Breeding season for these primates lasts all year long. Female lion-tailed macaques generally only carry one youngster per gestational period.

Like most other species of Old World monkeys, lion-tailed macaques have handy cheek pouches for quick and easy sustenance storage. They routinely employ these convenient and roomy pouches to keep their valuable findings away and safe from the prying eyes and grasps of others.
Communication of the Lion-Tailed Macaque
These tree dwellers are rather communicative and expressive mammals. When a lion-tailed macaque pushes out his lips and elevates his head, for example, he’s basically sending over a courteous “hello.” If you ever hear one of these guys yawning, however, watch out, as that is a proclamation of higher status and assertiveness — and perhaps even upcoming aggressive behavior. Lion-tailed macaques have serious territorial streaks, after all.

Lion-tailed macaques are an endangered species, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species as of 2008. As far as fully grown members of this species go, there are not even 2,500 of them in total. Loss of habitat is a major cause for their decreasing population, largely due to coffee and tea plantations, timber growth and hunting activities. These monkeys are frequently sought after for not only their flesh, but also their fur.

Habitat fragmentation and hunting are the two main threats to the survival of Lion-tailed macaque. Habitat fragmentation is the process where a large, continuous area of habitat is both, reduced in area and divided into two are more fragments. Fragmentation of Lion-tailed macaque habitat is chiefly due to timber harvest, raising of exotic plantations such as eucalyptus, tea, coffee and cinchona and establishment of development projects. Habitat deterioration is the biggest threat to the conservation of Lion-tailed macaques in Kerala. In private forests and plantations, change in land use is problem for the species.

Hunting is the second main threat especially in certain parts of its distribution range. Lion-tailed macaques are generally hunted for meat and medicinal use.

Certain features of the reproductive biology and ecology of Lion-tailed macaque such as large inter-birth periods, seasonal resources availability and female competition for mating opportunities combine to make it rare in the wild.

It can be concluded that Lion-tailed macaque which is endemic to the Western Ghats of South India is standing on verge of extinction mainly due to habitat fragmentation and hunting. Therefore conservation of this rare primate species is the need of the hour to sustain our bio-wealth and also for the maintenance of ecological stability.