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Meet Delhi zoo’s new residents

The Delhi zoo now houses a new animal species – the stump-tailed macaque. Eight stump-tailed macaques have been brought to the zoo from the Aizawl Zoological Park in Mizoram.

The macaques, which are listed as ‘vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List of species, have been placed in quarantine for a minimum of 21 days and are likely to be released into an enclosure for public viewing only after that, a zoo official said. The animals, four males and four females, arrived at the Delhi zoo three days ago.

The addition of the macaques takes the total number of species at the zoo to 97.

The Delhi zoo housed the stump-tailed macaque till 2014. “We had a pair of them, but they did not breed,” a zoo official said.

Three pairs of silver pheasants, a bird, will be sent to Aizawl in exchange for the macaques.

According to details with the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), the stump-tailed macaque is found in evergreen forests in South Asia, including parts of Northeast India in forests south of the Brahmaputra. They are known to eat fruits, leaves, seeds, insects and small animals like frogs, and are found in parts of Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland.

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In 2018, the CZA inventory showed the presence of 43 stump-tailed macaques at nine Indian zoos. They have thick, long, brown fur and pink or red faces.

A book on the stump-tailed macaque prepared by the CZA and the WII noted that the animal “faces threats to their long-term survival in their natural habitats across their distribution range”.

“Maintenance of demographically stable and genetically viable ex-situ (conservation of species outside their natural habitat) populations is thus crucial for ensuring the continued survival of the species,” it noted.

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