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How International Macaque Week Came to Be

Siân Waters & Lucy Radford, Barbary Macaque Awareness and Conservation

In January 2016, we announced the inaugural International Macaque Day, which took place on 16th March that year. Having worked on Barbary macaque conservation for many years, we were all too accustomed to the issues individuals and groups can face when trying to raise awareness and funds for macaque species, which often can’t compete with the great apes and other more traditionally charismatic primates for public affection. We knew that people working on other macaque species felt the same, so we decided it was worth trying to advocate for macaques internationally. We imagined that we might get a small number of followers and a bit of interest, but when the day came around, we were astounded at how successful it was.

The only slight problem was that many of the participants were zoos in northern Europe whose visitor numbers in March were low, so from 2017 onwards we decided to have an entire International Macaque Week (IMW) in the first week of May each year.

Since then, IMW has gone from strength to strength, featuring in the press in places from Kathmandu to Gibraltar, and many other macaque habitat countries (and countries where they are found in zoos or sanctuaries) in between. We now have around 4000 followers on our Facebook page, and we look forward each year to seeing the new and creative ways people have of raising awareness and money for this fascinating genus.

If you are looking for education materials that can be used by your organisation focused on Barbary macaques then take a look at the education resources page on our website.

We have had less and less time to devote to this very important week so we are delighted that the brilliant team at AfA Macaque Coalition will now take it forward.  We hope to report on the activities in Morocco in May. We wish all those macaque fans out there a happy International Macaque Week!

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