Egg Stealer

For six hundred years thick jungle hid the wonders of the great city of Polonnaruwa, in Sri Lanka. Today, the ruins are historical and religious treasures, and a sanctuary for hundreds of macaques, whose ancestors probably lived here when the city was young. They are a common sight and have a nickname of temple monkey.

Toque macaque
This is a toque macaque which belongs to one of many troops that live in the sanctuary.

It's the females who know their home range intimately, who lead the group to feeding areas, under the watchful eyes of the males. The macaques can eat only a few kinds of leaves, but almost anything else!



Toque macaque
What they can't eat now, they store in large cheek pouches.

It's vital for toques to raise many young - large troops can forage confidently, defend their food supplies, and more easily bring their fragile youngsters to maturity.

Even the youngest of the Polonnaruwa toques has a special link with humans.
For thirty years every animal has been identified and monitored over its lifetime by Doctor Wolfgang Dittus and his field researchers.

Macaques are Old World monkeys of the subfamily Cercopithecinae and are widely distributed from northern Africa through Japan. I wrote about Japanese macaques in a previous blog. NHNZ Images has many different kinds of macaques in it's holdings, which you can check out in the on-line catalogue.