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Conservation

The lion-tailed macaques of Valparai

A shy, exclusively fruit-eating, arboreal primate endemic to the Western Ghats, the lion-tailed macaque has been classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as endangered. Reduced to a few thousands thanks to their picky eating habits in a shrinking rainforest, such as at Valparai in Tamil Nadu, lion-tailed macaques are in danger of extinction.

 

A lion-tailed macaque on its perch at the tea estate at Puthuthottam, in Valparai.
A lion-tailed macaque on its perch at the tea estate at Puthuthottam, in Valparai. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
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With its young one. The baby macaque is chewing on a flower.
With its young one. The baby macaque is chewing on a flower. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
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On the road at Valparai waiting for tourists, who bring them bananas.
On the road at Valparai waiting for tourists, who bring them bananas. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
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Exploring the roof of a car.
Exploring the roof of a car. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
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At home on the treetops.
At home on the treetops. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
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A chance meeting  with a full-grown tiger when he was resting on the forest floor, perhaps after a heavy meal.
A chance meeting with a full-grown tiger when he was resting on the forest floor, perhaps after a heavy meal. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
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Annoyed elephants step back into the tea estate, seeing cars lining up on the road bisecting the forest.
Annoyed elephants step back into the tea estate, seeing cars lining up on the road bisecting the forest. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
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Wild bisons, or Indian gaur, are usually found in large herds of several dozens, sometimes, even hundreds, in Valparai.
Wild bisons, or Indian gaur, are usually found in large herds of several dozens, sometimes, even hundreds, in Valparai. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
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The Western Ghats are a treasure trove of biodiversity. Here a view of the dense forests at the lower elevations at Valparai.
The Western Ghats are a treasure trove of biodiversity. Here a view of the dense forests at the lower elevations at Valparai. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
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A tiny snake, probably Beddome’s Cat snake.
A tiny snake, probably Beddome’s Cat snake. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
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Malabar gliding frog.
Malabar gliding frog. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
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Malabar gliding frog with its young one on its back.
Malabar gliding frog with its young one on its back. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
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Vestigial forests still peep from behind the tea and spice estates of Valparai which had, for decades, remained hidden from the hordes of tourists who invade nearby Ooty.
Vestigial forests still peep from behind the tea and spice estates of Valparai which had, for decades, remained hidden from the hordes of tourists who invade nearby Ooty. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
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Vestigial forests still peep from behind the tea and spice estates of Valparai which had, for decades, remained hidden from the hordes of tourists who invade nearby Ooty.
Vestigial forests still peep from behind the tea and spice estates of Valparai which had, for decades, remained hidden from the hordes of tourists who invade nearby Ooty. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
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Athirappilly Falls in Kerala, about 80 km from Valparai. Here, the Chalakkudy river, which originates in the Anaimudi range, plunges 90 feet down in a spectacular torrent.
Athirappilly Falls in Kerala, about 80 km from Valparai. Here, the Chalakkudy river, which originates in the Anaimudi range, plunges 90 feet down in a spectacular torrent. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
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