Toque Macaque

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Cash-strapped Sri Lanka is exploring the possibility of exporting 1,00,000 endangered Toque Macaque monkeys to China, one of its largest bilateral lenders.

About Toque Macaque:

  • It is a reddish-brown-coloured Old World monkey endemic to Sri Lanka, where it is locally known as the ''rilewa'' or ''rilawa''.
  • Scientific Name: Macaca sinica
  • Distribution: They are native and endemic exclusively to Sri Lanka.
  • Habitat: They generally occupy three types of habitat; hence can be divided into three subspecies. These are
    • the Common toque macaque (Macaca sinica sinica), occurring in dry habitat;
    • the Pale-fronted toque macaque (Macaca sinica aurifrons), inhabiting wet areas;
    • the Hill-zone toque macaque (Macaca sinica opisthomelas), found at high elevations;
  • Features:
  • The most characteristic feature of this primate is the toque-like swirl of hair on its head top.
  • Males are physically larger than females.
  • They are fitted with exceptionally long, thin tails. They have the distinction of being the smallest species belonging to the genus Macaca with the longest tails relative to their body size.
  • They are highly social animals, living in units of up to 40 individuals.
  • Conservation Status 
    • IUCN: Endangered


Q1) What are Macaques?

Macaque, (genus Macaca), any of more than 20 species of gregarious Old World monkeys, all of which are Asian except for the Barbary macaque of North Africa. Macaques are robust primates whose arms and legs are of about the same length.

Source: Cash-strapped Sri Lanka considers exporting 1 lakh endangered monkeys to China