Species that live in an area interact with each other, and primates, which include humans and monkeys, are no exception. But can a simple and common Indian interaction, of people feeding monkeys, change the monkeys’ behaviour and ecology? And what of the people who feed them?
Scientists from Bengaluru’s Asoka Trust for Ecology and Evolution (ATREE) and the National Institute of Advanced Studies observed a 64-member rhesus macaque troop in West Bengal’s Buxa Tiger Reserve in 2013-14 for a total of 720 hours, recording whether the animals were eating naturally available food. They found that the macaques incorporated insects and 69 plant food items from 54 species in their natural diet.