January 8, 2012

Animal welfare watchdogs concerned about long tailed macaques

long_tailed_macaque_140_120106.jpgHundreds of long-tailed macaques moved from living wild in the rainforest to a breeding centre

Hundreds of wild monkeys have been trapped in Gunungkidul rainforest and shipped by truck with government permission to a primate dealer in Tangerang who supplies the international research industry, explained Sarah Kite, Director of special projects at British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV), in a recent interview with the Jakarta Globe.

“We are very concerned about the plight of these monkeys, their capture from the wild and removal from their home and family groups, their transportation for many hours on the back of a truck to Jakarta and their final destination,” Kite said.

Since 1989, the Forestry Ministry has forbidden the export of wild-caught macaques; only those bred at breeding centres can be exported. But a special permit for catching the wild animals and breeding them can be obtained.   Every year the Ministry also determines a quota for the capture of wild species within the country. In 2008, for long-tailed macaques, the quota was 5,100. According to a BUAV report, of these, 3,000 monkeys went to the Indonesian research company Bio Farma – a vaccine and serum manufacturer in Indonesia – and 2,000 monkeys replaced breeding stock at primate supply companies. 

Many are exported, but information on what happens to specific primates at their final destination is difficult to obtain.  However, the BUAV said it tracked down a number of institutions that have imported primates from Indonesia, including Wake Forest University in North Carolina. At ;least one of the companies, SNBL USA, uses the animals in experiments in “reproductive toxicology, safety pharmacology, immunotoxicology and carcinogenicity.”

“The BUAV is opposed to all animal experiments,” Kite said. “There are strong ethical and scientific arguments against using primates in research.”

Gunungkidul Forestry Office had asked for BKSDA Yogyakarta in July to actively participate in “countering the attacks of the long-tailed macaques,” which had been “disturbing … and causing trouble for the community”.

Pramudya Harzani, director of the Jakarta Animal Aid Network, questioned the decision made by BKSDA Yogyakarta, since the long-tailed macaques do not usually disturb human habitat. He added that in other regions, humans and the long-tailed monkeys are able to live side-by-side as long as there is enough vegetation for both species.

“In Karimun Jawa, the villagers plant guava trees on the outskirts of their villages for the monkey,” he said.

“Our other concern is that Indonesia does not have a record of how many long-tailed macaques are left in the wild,” Pramudya continued.

 Source:  Jakarta Globe



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