Shy primates grow sociable along Agumbe Ghat

Lion-tailed macaques, counted among the endangered species of primates in the country, are known to be shy by nature. But a few among them appear to be becoming more sociable. They can often be spotted coming close to humans in the Agumbe Ghat region of Karnataka, even seeking food from travellers.

Lion-tailed macaques normally spend most part of their lives on tree canopies. They run away on sensing the presence of human beings, said Arunachala Hebbar, a nature photographer based in Udupi. Mr. Hebbar said he spent days to click a snap of those macaques without success.

However, when this reporter was ascending the Agumbe Ghat last week, many of them could be spotted on the retaining walls of the Ghat. Some even came close in anticipation of food.

Conservation zoologist Ullas Karanth said unlike in some other regions of the Western Ghats, lion-tailed macaques are not hunted by humans in Agumbe and Kollur regions.

This, along with easy availability of food, must have brought them to the ground from the canopies, he said.

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