Abstract # 84:

Scheduled for Sunday, September 20, 2009 10:10 AM-10:20 AM: Session 7 (Mission Bay Ballroom AB) Oral Presentation


M. K. Chalise
Central Department of Zoology, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur, Kathmandu, Bagmati, Nepal
     In Nepal, as in several other Asian countries, the rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) population has remained stable, and in many locations has increased in abundance. With an agriculture-based economy and an ongoing loss of natural habitat, there is increasing conflict between farmers and rhesus macaques around the country. Although 19.7% of Nepal is officially protected habitat, the protected areas are fragmented and not all are suitable for primates. Fragmentation drives the dispersal of primates increasingly into areas of human settlement and agricultural lands and ultimately into conflict – as is frequently reported in local newspapers. To examine the problem, we surveyed farmers about human-primate interactions in a variety of locations around Nepal. Our survey revealed that of the three species of primates known in Nepal (Macaca mulatta, M. assamensis, and Semenopithecus entellus), farmers reported that M. mulatta were responsible for the majority of crop raiding. In 2003, the Nepali government instituted a wildlife farming policy that permits the removal of problematic animals, such as rhesus macaques, to establish sustainable breeding programs in government-approved centers. The policy allows for the use of progeny bred at these centers in medical research, thus creating an income opportunity for local people. Ultimately, the policy will promote greater financial and political support for programs designed to manage and conserve the natural populations.