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Food Preference of Rhesus Monkey (Macaca mulatta) in the Margalla Hills National Park, Islamabad, Pakistan

Food Preference of Rhesus Monkey (Macaca mulatta) in the Margalla Hills National Park, Islamabad, Pakistan

Shahzad Aslam1*, Amjad Rashid Kayani2, Muhammad Irfan Ashraf3, Muhammad Azhar Jameel2 and Kiran Sahar4

1Department of Zoology, Islamabad College for Boys, G-6/3, Islamabad, Pakistan
2Department of Zoology, Wildlife and Fisheries, Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi, Pakistan
3Department of Forestry, University of Sargodha, Punjab, Pakistan
4Department of Zoology, Benazir Bhutto Women University, Peshawar, Pakistan
 
* Corresponding author: shahzad_zoologist@yahoo.com

ABSTRACT

Study on food preference of Rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta) was conducted from September 2019 to September 2020 in the Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP) near Islamabad ,which falls in Murree foothills between 450m--­­­­1500m elevation   (N 330 44’25.5” E 0730 03’15.3”). Topography is rugged and the climate is sub-tropical semi-arid. The flora of the park is mainly subtropical evergreen scrub forest on the lower slopes and subtropical pine forest at higher elevations. The data were collected by direct field observations on five selected groups: A, B, C, D and E of rhesus monkey in various parts of the study area. Food remnants method was used in combination with fecal analysis and visual observation for food composition. Both macroscopic and microscopic fecal analysis were carried out using 150 fecal pellets, collected from study area. The microhistological fecal analysis showed the presence of 29 dietary plant species as compared to 30 plant species observed in the field. No animal derived food component was noticed in the diet. The results revealed that food composition consisted of 83% plants diet, 14% provisioned food items and 03% scavenging on garbage bins. To study food resource preference, the monkeys were classified into five age/sex classes: Adult males, adult females, sub adults, juveniles and infants. Analysis of food resources preference of five age/ sex classes of rhesus monkeys revealed that it mainly varied due to nutritional requirements and physiological conditions of monkeys. Rhesus monkeys preferred succulent foods to the non-succulents. Eight different feeding categories: arboreal, ground, provisioning, scavenging, begging, stealing, snatching and suckling were defined. A total of 540 observations were taken for all age and sex classes. The arboreal and ground feeding were widely used by the monkeys while stealing and snatching were little used. There is a need to conduct research on feeding ecology, parasitology, food preference based on nutritional requirements of Rhesus monkey in MHNP.

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Pakistan Journal of Zoology

June

Pakistan J. Zool., Vol. 56, Iss. 3, pp. 1001-1500

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