Conservationists at Chester Zoo are celebrating the birth of a rare Sulawesi crested macaque monkey – one of the world’s most endangered primates.
In the wild the charismatic primates face numerous threats including habitat loss as a result of deforestation, illegal logging and the expansion of farming land, as well as hunting and the illegal pet trade.
The species is currently listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
With fewer than 5,000 individuals estimated to remain in their natural habitat on the island of Sulawesi, and with numbers having plummeted by around 80% in the last 30 years, primate experts say that every birth in conservation zoos helps to safeguard the species.
Mark Brayshaw, Head of Mammals at the zoo said:
“Sulawesi crested macaques are highly sociable animals that live in large groups, and so the new baby is currently being passed around by mum Rumple to several other females, who are all sharing parenting duties, which is great to see.
“Every birth is a step forward for the international conservation breeding programme that’s working to safeguard the future of this critically endangered species. It also provides an opportunity to learn more about their behaviour, biology and social structures, which all helps to inform the efforts to protect the species globally.
“These charismatic monkeys face a plethora of threats in wild. While illegal logging has seen their forest home disappear around them, they’re also targets for poachers. In their homeland, macaques are considered a local delicacy and are often the food choice for special occasions such as weddings. That’s why our conservationists have provided support to the local communities, while also investigating the main causes of deforestation, which all helps to protect the incredible diversity of animals living on the island of Sulawesi.”
Facts about Sulawesi Crested Macaques:
Scientific Name: Macaca nigra
Conservation Status: Sulawesi crested macaques are listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically endangered with extinction in the wild
Native Habitat: Indonesian island of Sulawesi where the species is the most endangered of the seven macaque species that live in rainforests on the island
Unique Features: Prominent tuft of hair on the head, known as a crest
Population in the Wild: There are thought to be fewer than 5000 macaques left on their native land, 2000 of which live in the tropical rainforest in north Sulawesi. This is a particularly important region for conservation
Threats in the Wild: Habitat loss, deforestation, palm oil plantations, hunting, and illegal pet trade
Pictured - A rare baby Sulawesi crested macaque has been born to mum Rumple at Chester Zoo.