Rhesus Macaque Monkey, Kaziranga NP, India by Amit Roy

This image is of a young male Rhesus macaque monkey within moments of waking up after a nap. I have always been interested in capturing the subtle emotions that animals display. I visited Kaziranga National Park last year to document wildlife. I was in the forest guest house when I spotted a troop of Rhesus macaque monkeys on a tree from my balcony. I immediately went out with my camera to get a closer look. The monkeys were foraging on an old tamarind tree. The monkey in the image came down from the top canopy and sat on a lower branch in front of me. It was continuously looking at me and I could see that it was drowsy. I lowered my camera and started observing closely. It then stretched on the branch and went off to sleep. It yawned in sleep once. I hung around and waited. It woke up after about 15-20 minutes, opened its eyes and looked straight at me. I was moved by the child-like innocence in the gaze and captured the emotion on 27.02.2019. The eyes seemed to radiate peace.

Monkeys play a crucial role in the ecosystem in dispersal of seeds of fruit trees. This not only ensures their survival but also of innumerable species of insects, spiders, birds, herbivores, other species of monkeys, apes and even humans. They are also a source of food for the big cats. Sadly, primate populations are declining sharply across the world as a result of human activities such as deforestation, industrialization and urbanization. Many species are on the brink of extinction.

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