Aid for Macaques

Primate Sanctuary

Our goal is to provide ex-captive primates a second chance, on an island within the Thousand Islands Region.

Two macaque species in Indonesia, the crab-eating macaque and the pig-tailed macaque, are without protected status. In Indonesia, the live pet trade in macaques is very active and virtually all of the macaques offered for sale have been wild caught and are openly traded without permits.Not only the welfare of these monkeys is at stake here. The exploitation of these macaques also has secondary serious negative consequences for humans as they carry diseases contagious to humans.

Primary problem of the macaque trade

  • Welfare of the primates is at stake

Young macaques are caught from the forests by poachers and sold for a fairly cheap price – approximately rp. 70,000 ($7). These young macaque can be seen for sale in many places such as markets, pet shops, and in front of shopping malls by street vendors. The small macaques attract people because they look funny, cute and are cheap. Often many baby macaques are crowded together in small cages and are seen clinging to each other out of fear and stress.

After being sold, the macaques can be seen kept alone on short chains on the street or in front of the owner’;s house. While growing up to adulthood the chain often grows into the monkey’s skin, leading to pain from horrific infections and tetanus

Macaques are highly social creatures and in need of contact with others of their own kind. Therefore, keeping macaques in isolation is an extremely cruel practice. In many cases the macaques are tormented by people passing by who throw things at them or hit them with sticks. Some are plied with alcohol so that they will do funny things. Most receive poor nutrition such as left over rice and other human food not natural to the macaques.

Macaques have long, sharp canine teeth which can cause serious injury to people. Therefore, the canines are cut by traders with a common wire cutter to prevent the macaques from harming the people handling them. This crude dental practice causes great pain to the monkeys and often results in infection and even death

Secondary problem of the macaque trade

  • Risk towards owner and surrounding neighbours

After the macaques reach adulthood many of them are dumped (released with no where to go) by their owners because they are no longer little and cute. When macaques reach adulthood, they naturally become more aggressive (especially so if they have been abused) and then can’t be handled anymore. Owners don’t know what to do with them and so they just release them.

Dumped macaques will become wild ranging and become pests and hazards in urban areas where they normally would not exist. In some places these ex-pets have become a true problem. As the macaques used to be dependant on people, they will still approach humans to find their food.

Macaques carry many diseases which are transferable to humans including hepatitis and tuberculosis. Macaques kept as pets rarely receive vaccinations or other veterinary care. People should always stay well away from macaques they see on the street or in markets and they should NEVER purchase these animals to be kept as pets

A second chance!

Presently, there are 36 Macaques that have been released, socialized and divided in three groups on Penjaliran Island. Most individuals have adapted well to their new surroundings and are independent from people now, but some individuals still need to be given extra attention. For this reason, we have one caretaker on the island assuring their welfare.

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