First record of Macaca Mulatta from Manas National Park, Assam

Sudip Sharma Chowdhury

GUWAHATI:  An adult female melanistic Rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) was observed for the first timeduring an anti-snare walk by the team of Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) jointly with Forest Department on 18th March 2021 in the First Addition to Manas National Park.This phenomenon is rare in the wild population and photographic evidence has been recorded for the first time. ‘I was surprised when I saw for the first time a melanistic Rhesus macaque yesterday.

I communicated to many renowned Primatologist for further information. However, there was no photographic evidence and published article on melanism in Rhesus macaque,’ said Sanatan Deka of WTI. He was accompanied byAsish Immanuel Baglary (Biologist), Tiken Ray (Field Assistant) and Pankaj Mandal, a casual Forest Staff of Manas. The First Addition to Manas National Park covering 350 km² was declared in Aug 2016. The area is adjacent to Manas NP towards west along the Royal Manas National Park of Bhutan on the northand rich in floral and faunal biodiversity with charismatic natural beauty. During February 2021 a pair of ‘Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis) was also photographed by Mr. Deka of WTI near Panbari Range of Manas NP. The bird was also recorded for the first time in Assam in Manas. WTI has been working with Assam Forest Department, Bodoland Territorial Council and local communities for last more than sixteen years to retain the UNESCO World Heritage Site status of Manas, bring the old heritage back and to secure the entire landscape by envisioning Greater Manas Conservation landscape.

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