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Two more macaque species now Endangered

Due to the efforts of researchers associated with the Long-Tailed Macaque Project, long-tailed macaques have now been officially recognized as Endangered. They were previously listed as Vulnerable, but the IUCN, whose Red List of Threatened Species is the “world’s most comprehensive information source on the global extinction risk status of animal, fungus and plant species”, revised this status following a new assessment of this macaque species’ global status.

Long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) are the most widespread of macaque species, naturally occurring across Southeast Asia and introduced in several other countries. They are heavily persecuted across and outside of their range, both in captivity and in the wild. They are often killed in large numbers as agricultural “pests”, trapped and used for breeding or as subjects for research and testing, kept as pets or performers, or used to create disturbing social media cruelty content.

Because they are capable of thriving in human-dominated areas, and because their natural habitats are being destroyed on such a large scale, and because they are smart enough to take advantage of free food when it’s easily available (in the form of crops, unsecured rubbish, or offerings at tourist sites and temples), they are highly visible, and still often assumed to be abundant. But researchers know better, and have demonstrated that they are being decimated across their range. The species’ new Endangered status is an important way to ensure that policymakers and the public are aware of this.

Tragically, long-tailed macaques have already been entirely extirpated in Bangladesh. According to primatologist Tanvir Ahmed, the last known individual in Bangladesh died in 2015 or 2016 and no further individuals were identified in a survey that concluded this year. The species’ disappearance in Bangladesh has been attributed primarily to habitat destruction.

The local extinction of a species thought by many to be thriving - or even overabundant - is incredibly alarming. It’s a conservation crisis and an animal welfare crisis. We have to do better than this. The Macaque Coalition’s members and associates will continue to work on behalf of macaques in hopes that we can create a shift in the way these animals are regarded and treated.

Southern pig-tailed macaques (Macaca nemestrina) have now also been uplisted to Endangered, largely due to habitat destruction, hunting and trapping.

You can help save macaques and other primate species by taking a few small actions.

  1. Whenever you see social media content featuring a primate, follow the AfA Social Media Animal Cruelty Coalition’s “Five Steps to Stop Online Cruelty

  2. Do not feed wild monkeys if and when you encounter them or have your photograph taken with them

  3. Support only venues, companies, films and TV shows that do NOT use primate “actors” as entertainers