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The fragmentation of the rainforests of India’s Western Ghats mountains has left the endemic lion-tailed macaque surviving in numerous forest patches in a mosaic of commercial tea and coffee plantations. On the Valparai Plateau, Anamalai Hills,
some macaque groups have evidently altered their behavior, becoming habituated to people, suffering from frequent roadkill, and
facing problems related to people feeding them and their use of open waste dumps. We carried out a questionnaire survey around
three rainforest fragments (Puthuthottam, Korangumudi, Old Valparai) and the town of Valparai to understand people’s perceptions towards macaques, and to identify appropriate conflict-mitigation measures. Macaques near Korangumudi and Old Valparai
rarely ventured near residences, and most people were unaware of their presence. Respondents in and around Puthuthottam were
aware of the macaques, and most (68%) had negative perceptions of them because the macaques often visited houses in the area.
Most respondents (87%) believed that macaques visited houses in search of food and garbage, and 84% reported that macaques
were doing this only over the last 10 years. Housing conditions influenced people's perceptions: people living in tiled-roof
houses that were vulnerable to incursions by the macaques had higher negative perceptions (84.5%) compared to people living
in asbestos-roof and concrete structures. To reduce negative interactions with people and promote harmonious human-macaque
co-existence, we suggest implementing a combination of measures that would involve plantation management, conservation organizations, and the state forest and municipal authorities. The measures include cost-effective monkey-proofing of houses, regular
garbage collection, preventing open waste disposal and the feeding of macaques, mitigating the effects of roads, and promoting
people’s awareness, rainforest restoration, and the use of native shade trees in plantations.