Lion-tailed Macaque

The lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus) is an Old World monkey that lives only in southwest India.

The skin of the lion-tailed macaque is dark-brown or black. Its most outstanding characteristic is the silver-white mane that surrounds the head from the cheeks down to its chin. The hairless face is black colored. It has a head-to-tail length of 17.72 to 23.62 in (45 to 60 cm) and a weight of 6.61 to 22.05 lb (3 to 10 kg). It ranks among the smaller macaques. The tail is medium length with a length of approximately 9.84 in (25 cm). It has a black tuft at the end, similar to a lion’s tail.

The lion-tailed macaque is a daily rain forest dweller. It is a good climber and spends a majority of its life in the trees. Unlike other macaques, it avoids humans. In-group behavior, it is much like other macaques. It lives in hierarchical groups of usually ten to twenty animals that consist of some males and many females. It is a territorial animal, defending its area first with loud cries towards the invading troops. If this does not work, it brawls aggressively.

The lion-tailed macaque primarily eats fruits. It also eats leaves, buds, insects and small vertebrates.

Gestation is approximately six months. The young are nursed for one year. Sexual maturity is reached at four years for females and six years for males. The life expectancy in the wild is approximately 20 years, while in captivity up to 30 years.

The Lion-tailed Macaque ranks among the uncommon and most threatened primates. According to estimations of the IUCN, only approximately 2,500 of these animals live. They are scattered over several areas in southwest India. The destruction of their habitat and the fact that they avoid human proximity, has led to the drastic decrease of their population. Many zoos take part in breeding programs that help to secure the survival of this species.