Video_1_Altered Food Habits? Understanding the Feeding Preference of Free-Ranging Gray Langurs Within an Urban Settlement.MP4 (28.8 MB)
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Video_1_Altered Food Habits? Understanding the Feeding Preference of Free-Ranging Gray Langurs Within an Urban Settlement.MP4

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posted on 26.04.2021, 05:16 by Dishari Dasgupta, Arnab Banerjee, Rikita Karar, Debolina Banerjee, Shohini Mitra, Purnendu Sardar, Srijita Karmakar, Aparajita Bhattacharya, Swastika Ghosh, Pritha Bhattacharjee, Manabi Paul

Urbanization affects concurrent human-animal interactions as a result of altered resource availability and land use pattern, which leads to considerable ecological consequences. While some animals have lost their habitat due to urban encroachment, few of them managed to survive within the urban ecosystem by altering their natural behavioral patterns. The feeding repertoire of folivorous colobines, such as gray langur, largely consists of plant parts. However, these free-ranging langurs tend to be attuned to the processed high-calorie food sources to attain maximum benefits within the concrete jungle having insignificant greenery. Therefore, besides understanding their population dynamics, the effective management of these urbanized, free-ranging, non-human primate populations also depends on their altered feeding habits. Here, we have used a field-based experimental setup that allows gray langurs to choose between processed and unprocessed food options, being independent of any inter-specific conflicts over resources due to food scarcity. The multinomial logit model reveals the choice-based decision-making of these free-ranging gray langurs in an urban settlement of West Bengal, India, where they have not only learned to recognize the human-provisioned processed food items as an alternative food source but also shown a keen interest in it. However, such a mismatch between the generalized feeding behavior of folivorous colobines and their specialized gut physiology reminds us of Liem's paradox and demands considerable scientific attention. While urbanization imposes tremendous survival challenges to these animals, it also opens up for various alternative options for surviving in close proximity to humans which is reflected in this study, and could guide us for the establishment of a sustainable urban ecosystem in the future.

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