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Preliminary assessment of distribution and behaviours of primates at Penang National Park, Malaysia



We conducted a preliminary assessment of distribution and behaviours of
Macaca fascicularis and Trachypithecus obscurus by line-transect survey and group scan data collection at the north-eastern part of Penang National Park (PNP), Malaysia. We encountered four groups of M. fascicularis (group sizes 8-19 individuals) and four groups of T. obscurus (group sizes 3-8 individuals) in the survey area. We encountered all primates along the beach trail (Jalan Hassan Abbas), at the picnic areas near Sungai Tukun Bridge and the Center for Marine and Coastal Studies (CEMACS), but not along the forest line-transects. The most frequently observed behaviour of macaques in all four groups was feeding (mean 27.5±2.4%, ). Locomotion (17.5±3.5%), resting (16.5±6.0%), playing
(15.5±5.6%), grooming (12.4±4.1%), foraging (6.3±3.9%), and aggression (4.3±2.9%) were also observed (N=145 total scans). Trachypithecus obscurus was encountered less frequently and they were shyer than M. fascicularis. We could not observe their behaviours well enough to report here. Macaques showed high abundances along the beach trail where they fed on provisioned food items. The fact that they were never encountered deeper in the
forest during sampling could point towards a non-uniform distribution of macaques at the national park. Line-transect survey was not a feasible method to calculate primate abundances at PNP. The high abundance of macaques at the beach areas where they interact with humans but their absence from the forest should be considered for future macaque management strategies in the park.


Macaca fascicularis, Trachypithecus obscurus, abundance, human-macaque interactions

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