Primate Info Net Banner Wisconsin PRC Logo

Stump-tailed macaque
Macaca arctoides


CITES: Appendix II (What is CITES?)
IUCN Red List: M. arctoides: VU (What is Red List?)
Key: VU = Vulnerable
(Click on species name to see IUCN Red List entry, including detailed status assessment information.)

The most critically threatened populations of stumptails are found in India and Bangladesh where they have not been seen since 1990 and may have already gone extinct. In both areas, major threats include habitat destruction and hunting (Molur et al. 2003). They are also a rarity in Malaysia and neighboring Thailand; in 1991, they had not been recorded by researchers since 1976 but were reportedly seen on occasion by local people (Sharma et al. 1996).


Threat: Human-Induced Habitat Loss and Degradation

Stump-tailed macaques shy away from human settlement and are rarely found near areas of established human colonization But as human populations grow, especially in India, and colonization of primary forest begins, stumptail macaques are increasingly threatened. The practice of shifting agriculture, called jhum in India, has forced stump-tailed macaques closer to humans in addition to destroying their habitat (Srivastava 1999; Choudhury 2002). Furthermore, as individual families clear land for gardens the primary forest is fragmented and groups of stump-tailed macaques are isolated from each other. The human population growth in northeastern India has reached 500,000 annually and is putting immense pressure on natural resources in that country. In addition to land clearance for subsistence gardens, commercialized logging, harvesting bamboo for paper mills, mining and oil extraction are problematic and threaten stump-tailed macaque habitat in India (Choudhury 2002; Molur et al. 2003).

Potential Solutions

Protected areas in India afford safety to stump-tailed macaques not because of enforcement restriction of settlement in these areas, but because sheer size prohibits humans from easily reaching the areas of densest forest (Choudhury 2002). Continuing to designate protected areas, in addition to enforcing protection in areas closest to human settlement, is an important step in preserving habitat. Furthermore, education programs focusing on the effects of shifting agriculture as well as alternative opportunities for subsistence cultivation should be established (Choudhury 2002).

Threat: Harvesting (hunting/gathering)

Once humans begin to impede on their range, stump-tailed macaques become the victims of indiscriminate hunting. They are large-bodied primates and are therefore utilized as a protein source by traditional people as well as forest settlers (Srivastava 1999; Srivastava & Mohnot 2001; Choudhury 2002). The availability of semi-automatic weapons has also had an effect on the rates of stumptail macaque hunting; rather than hunting with traditional weapons such as muzzle-loading guns or snare traps, the proliferation of semi-automatics has been effective in killing more macaques in a shorter period of time (Choudhury 2002). They are also hunted because of their use in traditional medicine (Molur et al. 2003).

Potential Solutions

Stump-tailed macaques are legally protected in India, but the lack of enforcement of these laws has made them ineffective. Furthermore, surveys conducted among local people reveal that they are unaware of the legal prohibitions against collecting these and other forest animals (Choudhury 2002). One way to potentially decrease the amount of poaching is to increase education, highlighting the status of threatened species in this area.

Threat: Persecution

Stump-tailed macaques are very shy and wary of people and do not often raid crops, but when they do, they are usually quite destructive. Farmers often shoot and kill raiding macaques (Srivastava 1999; Choudhury 2002).





Content last modified: October 4, 2005

Written by Kristina Cawthon Lang. Reviewed by Hideo Uno.

Cite this page as:
Cawthon Lang KA. 2005 October 4. Primate Factsheets: Stump-tailed macaque (Macaca arctoides) Conservation . <>. Accessed 2019 December 14.