The monkey in the mirror: Thinking about the urban macaques of India

Anindya Sinha in conversation with Shashwat DC, on issues related to the interplay of the macaque populations and humans, especially in the urban cities of India, like Delhi and others

Monkey in the mirror

Nature does not merely exist in the forest, but it abounds all around us, even in our cities. To explore and discuss flora and fauna in our vicinity, Azim Premji University brings you a Webinar seriesNature in our Cities.

The webinar is part of the overall #SeekingSustainability umbrella. The series will be of particular interest to people who wish to know more about the environment and urban ecology. 

In this edition, we talk about the urban macaques in India, or what are popularly known as monkeys. The macaques, a large group of Old World monkeys, are represented by about 22 species distributed across Asia and with one species in northern Africa. 

They are arguably the most ecologically adaptable, socially labile and behaviourally flexible of all nonhuman primates. India is home to nine species of this genus, with the rhesus and the endemic bonnet macaque being the most popular, given their historical urban distribution.

We discuss issues related to interplay of the macaque populations and humans, especially in the urban cities of India, like Delhi and others.

Anindya Sinha is a renowned primatologist who has been studying the macaques for well over three decades and shares his insights on what are the challenges faced by the macaques when they live in close proximity of their cousins, namely, humans.

Anindya, primarily based at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bengaluru, had early research interests in the molecular biochemistry of yeast metabolism, social biology of wasps, and the classical genetics of human disease although his principal research, over the last three decades, has been on the behavioural ecology, cognitive ethology, population and behavioural genetics, evolutionary biology and conservation studies of primates and other mammalian species.

Shashwat DC is part of the communications team at Azim Premji University. He is a blogger with sus​tain​abil​i​tyze​ro​.com. With a deep interest in history and mythology, he is also a passionate champion of the environment and biodiversity. He writes on issues related to sustainability, sustainable development, and environmental history.