Diversity, Abundance and Composition of Non Human Primates

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DIVERSITY, ABUNDANCE AND COMPOSITION OF NON HUMAN PRIMATES IN DUMRAON, BIHAR

Suday Prasad

Bihar Agricultural University, Bhola Paswan Shastri Agricultural College,

 Purnea-854302, (Bihar) India,

Email: sudayprasad@yahoo.co.in

Wild animals, which langurs and macaques are important group’s of primates. Gray langurs are popularly known as entellus or hanuman langur, which are scientifically named as Semnopithecus entellus. The diversity, composition and temporal distribution of non human primate’s species in Dumraon were studied during January, 2013 to December, 2014. We had found two separate species of non-human primates’ Macaca mulatta and Presbytis entellus inhabited of Rajgardh garrison and non-agricultural area of Haryana Cattle Breeding Farm, Dumraon, Buxar, Bihar. Although P. entellus had found their diet as of plant materials as food, whereas M. mulatta, are habituated with various plant materials and food substances offer by tourists and local people. Rhesus macaques are medium sized with short limbs, face bar light pink to reddish, and had little to no hair on their faces or ramps and cheek hair short grayish brown in colour. Their tails are relatively short and not prehensile. Langur is found comparatively larger in size and their body grey with long limbs. Its face black, hands and feet also black. Its tail comparatively longer. The group size of M. mulatta a total of 208 individuals in 13 groups were counted that ranged from 17 to 53, whereas the size group of hanuman langur, a total 57 individuals found in 03 groups  were ranged from 7 to 16.  Non human primates were found to be major threats due to loss of natural habitat and increased conflict between human and primates. Primates in this region as well as in Dumraon are facing serious challenges for survival

Key words: Macaca mulatta, Presbytis entellus, monkey, primate, diversity, distribution.

INTRODUCTION

Diversity is one of the most important live supporting systems on the earth. India has long been known as one of the rich primate areas of the world, both in species diversity and population Southwick and Lindburg (1986). All species on earth have some unique ecological function and we need to explore their use for better well-being (Prasad et al., 2019). The primates have enormous inherent values, their behavior and ecology have made a number of significant contributions to understand human evolution; moreover, they also record increasingly important in conservation biology Martin, (2003). The mega biodiversity country, India supports sixteen species of non human primates occur in eight species of macaque, five of langurs, two of lorises and one species of gibbon occurs in South Asia (Southwick and Lindburg 1986: Smith and Me Donough, 2005). Non-human primate occupies a large diversity of habitats ranging from dense forest in mountain region to open land and human habitations in India Tiwari and Mukhargee, (1992). The Hanuman langur (Semnopithecus entellus) is biggest species of old world monkeys distributed throughout India except northeastern India, while Rhesus macaque occurs in all habitats of India (Chaudhary et al, 2006). Southwick and Siddhiqui (1994) were believed that more than millions of Rhesus macaques were present in India and 86 % of that population were living near to human habitation. Primate’s population are being reduced or eliminated in many parts of the world due to habitat destruction, competition for food and space, meat hunting, biomedical research and the pet trade (Wolthaeim, 1983a; Mittermeier, 1986; Priston & Underdown, 2009).  A few studies have been carried out to ascertain their diversity, status, distribution and demography by different workers (Chetry et al., 2003: Biswas, 2004; Medhi, et al., 2007; Kumar, 2015, Prasad, 2017). There is very few information about the diversity status and population parameters of non human primates species in various protected areas in India. Besides population in the wild, there are primates’ Rhesus monkey and hanuman langur on the premises of undulated, sandy soil with scattered forest area of Haryana Cattle Breeding Farm (HCBF), town areas, temples and old fort living in association with human population, but none have been documented particularly in Bihar.

In this paper we have for the first time assessed and an effort has been done to study the diversity, distribution, composition as well as prospects on present population of non human primates (M. mulatta) and (P. entellus) in Dumraon, Buxar, Bihar.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Study area: Dumraon is one of the oldest municipalities of Bihar and one of India’s   oldest princely states. Now It is a sub-division of district Buxar and 100 km far-away from Patna that lies between 25 .550 N Latitude and 84. 150 E Longitude at the average elevation of 61 metres (200 feets). It is located 1.5 km South of National High way (NH-44) (Ara- Buxar Highway) and human population was 53,618 (census of 2011) having considerable non human primates population.

The present investigation was carried out on diversity, abundance of primates in Dumraon from January 2013 to December 2014. The investigation was initiated with survey and troops were monitored in three phases of the day, i.e. morning, noon and evening on specific days. The non human primates were observed by direct observation and scan sampling methods (Altman: 1974). Diversity and composition status at each site has been considered direct counts of groups’ size and sex of the species. The individuals of the group were classified as adult males, adult females, juveniles and infants. The juveniles were those more than one year or less than three years old and infants were those carried by mothers, less than one year old. Before computation of the actual data collected, several personal visits were made to record information on the past histories of the group, their interactions with local people, and the attitudes of the people towards the non human primates. Where the authentic proof of the presence of monkeys was found the reports of the local people about these groups were also taken into consideration for the purpose of estimation of population. In such cases the average group size of the monkeys were observed in the area was taken as the group size of the group reported by the local people. Apart from this, the author taken room on rent and reside (from 2013-2014) in Tiwari tola, near Jawahar temple, Dumraon, the area supposed to be the pathway of Rhesus macaques. The necessary information’s were also collected through direct observation. The identified monkeys groups were visited during dusk or dawn and visually counting of each group was made carefully from closed distance.

Data analysis: The group structure of non human primates’ Rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) and Hanuman langur (Presbytis entellus) individual detail and number of individuals were recorded. The collected data was presented in simple tubular form.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Diversity and characteristics: The world tropical region harbor most of the global biodiversity, are unfortunately among the places with maximum human pressure on the environment (Mazumdar, 2014). The occurrence of the M. mulatta and black footed gray langur (P. entellus) in Dumraon, Buxar was studied for the first time during the present research. In the investigation, the  identified population of two species that rhesus macaque (M. mulatta) is found in the Rajgardh garrison and black footed gray langur (P. entellus) was found in the Haryana Cattle Breeding Farm that located south east part of Dumraon town, detail predicted in (Table -1 & 2 and Fig -1 & 2.). A few decades ago in the Dumraon (Buxar) had variety of wild animals and game birds when the forests were thick. In present observation, rapidly increasing populations of human in Dumraon with the increases in irrigation facilities the area under cultivation has grown, consequently resulting in scattered form forest which does not offer a good shelter or environment to wildlife.

  The wild animals have suffered in the process and their number has gone down very considerably, nilgai, spotted deer are found in a small population in the plains and near the Ganga bank. In present, a very small number of monkeys and langurs are now living in the Dumraon (Buxar).  According to local people of Dumraon, during 1960s number of langurs was in this area but now most of them they gradually left the area due to deforestation and human disturbance more or less similar observation were reported by Medhi et al., 2007; Kumar, 2012. 

Tiwari and Mukharjee (1992) reported head with body length in male rhesus macaque ranged from 455-635 mm and tail measured 200-317 mm. whereas in male languor, head & body measured 58-64 cm and tail ranged from 85-105 cm.

Habitat preferences and distribution: Grey langur and macaque are diurnal. They sleep during the night in trees but also on man-made structures like towers, electric polls, forts, old building when in human settlements (Sharma, 2002). Ungulates like bovine and deer will eat food dropped by foraging langur (Punekar, 2002). During the survey period 2013-2014, non agricultural open undulated land (sandy and sandy loam soil) of Haryana Cattle Breeding Farm (HCBF), converted in to the some permanently and occasionally residence with natural habitat of different wild animals like Nilgai deer, wild boars, hanuman etc. We found that the area of (HCBF), cover by small trees in different patches.

Haryana Cattle Breeding Farm (HCBF), come in existence on 17th December 1952 was established with the aim to rear bulls of hybrid and supply them among farmers to raise the quality of milk producing cattle on the spreading 431.10 acres of land in East-Southern part of Dumraon town. This farm famous for its Sahiwal cows and Murrah buffaloes has the capacity of keeping 450 cattle heads at a time. According to farmer Raj Narayan Yadev (65 years old), from village Banjhu-Dera, before the existence of HCBF, that area covered by the deep forest and that time considerable resident population & habitat of gray languor, rhesus macaques, Nilgai, Deer, wild Boar, Jackal,  Indian porcupines, Indian flying fox,  Squirrels,  Rats, Snakes and different types of birds etc. in present study most of areas of  HCBF were found covered with small bushes and some trees. Prasad, (2020) also reported Indian flying fox, Pteropus giganteus (Brunnich) Chiroptera, Pteropodidae in Dumraon, Bihar. In the present study, M. mulata, general status is reduced and least concern under IUCN-13, threatened & vulnerable condition. Whereas P. entellus also declined and endangered.  Mewa (2011) reported many primate species in India presently are facing the dangers of extinction. Of the 29 primate taxa in India, only four are considered Least Concern (IUCN Red List of threatened species) whereas all others are threatened to some degree with over 50% being endangered or critically endangered. The langur diet at present is almost wholly vegetation consisting mainly of the leaves, shoots buds, flower, fruits and seeds of a number of plants. There is only a negligible natural habitat left for hanuman and macaque in Dumraon and virtually none of it has a protected area status. Tree cover is in small patches and consist mainly Peepal (Ficus religiosa), Pakar, Bargad (Ficus bengalensis), Shisham (Delbergia sissoo), Babool (Acacia nilotica) Jamun (Syzigium cumitiv), Ber (Ziziphus mauritiana) and shrubs like Jharber (Ziziphus nummularia) etc. However, these areas do not provide much food for the animal except leaves seeds and fruits.  In place where plantations are not available, the animals seek cover and rest in shrub and wasteland although these areas are dwindling fast. Prasad, et al., 2018, reported M. mulatta wide spread in Dumraon and found most of the temples except Dumrajnii temple. They also found in railway station, subji mundi, (Gola). At Kali mata temple near Kao river M. mulatta occupied the large tree such as Peepal. The highest population was observed at Rajgadh garrison. (Southwick et al., 1983) reported that the Rhesus monkey M. mulatta is more commonly found in villages and towns than in forest area. Rhesus monkey lives in various diversified habitats, namely, temples urban, railway station, village, village-cum-pond, pond, road side canal side and forest having varying degree of human interactions in India (Richard et al, 1989; Chopra and Kumar, 2012; Kumar, 2015; Prasad, et al., 2018).  The distribution of hanuman langur was spread in Dumraon Haryana Farm. A total of three troop of hanuman were observed in Haryana farm. The troop were observed adjacent to water bodies (Kawn river) and amid of agricultural field at Haryana farm and Dumrajni Mata temple hanuman occupy  the large tree such as Pepal, Jamun, Mango, Mahua (M. indica). The most widely distributed species of non-human primate in India is the hanuman langure, P.entellus. It occurs throughout the country except in the westernmost section of the Rajasthan desert and easternmost areas of India bordering Burma (Wolfheim, 1983).

Status and Compositions: Kumar et al., 1991, reported a total of 152 Rhesus monkey groups and 64 langur groups in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. Sengupta and Radhakrishna (2013) recorded 475 individuals of Rhesus macaque in 18 groups, 11 were in protected areas five along road sides and two in private estates. In the present study, (Table-3), the group composition of rhesus macaques total 208 and 53, 59, 17, 24 and 45 individuals of adult male, adult female, juvenile male juvenile female and infants were recorded. Whereas hanuman langur were observed total 57 number and 3, 7, 16, 7, 12, and 15 individuals of adult male, adult female, juvenile male juvenile female and infants were recorded.

Primate Populations, species of M. mulatta groups travelled extensively in the adjacent areas. Inside the Rajgard garrison; four banks, one  post-office, telephone exchange office, gas godown, two schools, others non government agencies and temples are situated and in working position and also one hundred family all residing in the garrison (Prasad, et al., 2018). A varied number of rhesus macaques (M. mulatta) with their permanently or occasionally habitat live in most of the old buildings of in Raj-gardh garrison Dumraon freely or in an association with human that was an age-old phenomenon in the said region.  (Rechard, et al., 1989) have reported that Rhesus macaques are exceptionally adapted coexisting with human and thrive near human settlement in both urban and agricultural areas. (Timmins, et al. 2008) reported same South Asia troops of M. mulatta in the great variation of habitats from grassland to arid and forest areas, but close to human settlements also. This species depends mostly on human food for their survival in temples; people distribute foods to them as a token of good deeds. Species of M. mulatta considered ‘holy’ in most of the South Asian countries, as reflected by their behaviors outwards to the belief of local people (Medhi, et al., 2007). (Prasad, et al., 2018), reported rhesus macaques are live in Raj-gardh garrison during night but early morning they start migrating for in search of food from raj-gardh garrison to different areas of the Dumraon. In day time, the majority of these macaques are found mostly on temples, on road sides, in railway station areas and in old buildings (for taking rest), as well as the periphery of town including vegetable market of Dumraon. In day time, they also have been enclosed and frequently in contact with people. This species depend mostly on human food for their survival in urban/town and temples. During evening time they again return in Raj-gardh in Dumraon. (Seth & Seth 1986; Prasad, 2017) reported home range size and day lengths dependent on habitat in rhesus macaques. Temple, village and urban rhesus macaques have small home range between 0.01 and 3.03 km in size. According to local people, rhesus macaques and hanuman are disappearing, they are neglected and there have not been any efforts taken on behalf of their conservation and management aspects. (Southwick et al., 1983) surveyed and indicated the sharp decline in rhesus population in Northern India. They pointed out that in some place they have noted the declining the rhesus population to the tune of more than 90 %. In Dumraon primates is not hunting but increasing human primate conflict that is most critical threat. The populations of most wild animals are declining at a high rate of extinction owing to habitat destruction and fragmentation along-with several other reasons; additionally, many people, generally those who belong to tribes, kill and consume wild animals including Dolphins, Langur, Squirrel, and Deer reported by (Choudhary, 2013). Srivastava, (2012), reported that the non human primates had played a vital role in scientific experimental research and many medical advances of the past century and continues to aid our understanding of various diseases and discovering new means and methods for better human life development.

CONCLUSION

In the present study revealed the M. mulatta and P. entellus are thriving although their natural habitats are destructed and replacement with agricultural land. This indicates an urgent need for continuous monitoring of some of the population to known the future demographic trend with evolved suitable conservation and management programme of primates in Bihar.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The author is thankful to Associate Dean-cum-Principal, Veer Kunwar Singh College of Agriculture, Dumraon, for his kind encouragement. Mr. Beer Bahadur and Surendra Ram, supporting staff of VKS College of Agriculture, Dumraon was thankfully acknowledged for providing necessary assistance during investigation.

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