The programme, which features 75 species to be highlighted by 75 zoos across the nation, hopes to raise awareness on this endangered species that is endemic to the State.
The lion-tailed macaque is a primate that is currently an endangered species and endemic to the Western Ghat area. According to zoo experts, this is an Old World monkey species, which means it has distinct physical characteristics from other primate species. They play a key role in pollination in the Western Ghats and are a versatile member of its ecosystem.
However, this species has come under threat in recent years owing to modernisation and loss of habitat. To counter this, the Anna Arignar Zoo has led several conservation efforts.
“We currently have 19 macaques in the zoo. We also coordinate the breeding efforts of these species. From 2000 to 2021, 61 young ones have been born at the zoo, of which 14 have been given away to eight zoos across India. Our main focus now is to prevent the destruction of habitat through awareness and releasing young ones into the wild properly,” said an official from the zoo.
However, reintroducing this population in the wild has been affected by issues such as long inter-parturition intervals, single litter sizes and low fecundity. Therefore, the week-long awareness programme is the next best bet in helping in the zoo’s conservation efforts.
Events from talks on the long-term monitoring of the primate in human-dominated landscapes to information on the status and conservation efforts for the species will be held from April 26 to May 2. There will be quiz contest, seminars, poetry and storytelling competitions (all online), painting and logo making competitions, as well as a radio programme on Radiocity to raise awareness.
“We hope these efforts will showcase the importance of preserving this species, raise awareness on the difficulties and challenges involved, and spark a fire among youth in joining conservation efforts,” said a zoo official.