Macaque Eating Cookies, Pench Tiger Reserve

by Sarvesh Phule
Sarvesh Phule

Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'

This image of a macaque, eating from a packet of Oreo cookies, exemplifies the pitfalls that wildlife tourism can have. Animals learn to eat processed foods, and this has repercussions on their life cycles and their behaviour.

Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta), although seen in urban and rural areas, deserve the same respect as any other wild animal. They are mostly herbivorous and are known to occasionally eat insects. Processed foods, like biscuits and chips, are not a part of their natural diet.

This image of a macaque, eating from a packet of Oreo cookies, exemplifies the pitfalls of unregulated wildlife tourism. In May 2013, we came across this macaque at Rukhad, Pench Tiger Reserve, eating from a packet of cookies either thrown by tourists or snatched from tourists. Animals learn to eat processed foods, and this has repercussions on their lifecycles. They begin to snatch food from tourists’ hands, as well as feeding on what has been thrown away carelessly. People continue to feed animals which causes the animals to become more aggressive. They gradually start losing their tendency of maintaining a healthy distance from humans. In short, their behaviour changes, which will affect them and their health adversely in the long run.



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