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White-Cheeked Macaque new addition to India’s mammals found in Arunachal Pradesh

The presence of White-Cheeked Macaque in Arunachal Pradesh has increased the number of mammals found in India (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@MyGovArunachal)

A team of nine scientists found the presence of White-Cheeked Macaque in the central part of Arunachal Pradesh, marking a new addition to the number of Indian mammals.

It is only after a DNA test that the presence of this species has been confirmed. The scientists were from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) and headed by Dr. Mukesh Thakur.

The group had gone on an expedition in the State looking for red pandas and Arunachal Macaques in West Siang. This area is about 197 kilometres from China. Here they unknowingly collected faecal samples, the analysis of which later revealed that they belonged to the White-Cheeked Macaques.

There was a solitary incidence of this species in India in 2015 which came through photographic capture from Anjaw district of Arunachal Pradesh.

Following the DNA test results, the scientists led by Dr. Thakur and Lalit Sharma, who heads the ZSI Wildlife Section collected more evidence, laid transects and also deployed a few camera traps in the region.

The study of the discovery of the white-cheeked macaque or Macaca leucogenys was published in the Animal Gene, an international peer-reviewed journal.

This species was first discovered in 2015 by a group of Chinese researchers from the Modog region in South-eastern Tibet and was important in the field of study of primates. They are different and distinct from other macaques as the White- Cheeked Macaques had white cheeks, long and thick hairs on the neck area, and a longer tail.