Tackling a Global Threat

While international trade of all primate species has been officially regulated since the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the legal and illegal trade in primates remains a threat to primate species throughout Southeast Asia. A survey by Shepherd (2010) on primate trade in Indonesian wildlife markets between 1997 and 2008 found that long-tailed macaques were the most heavily traded primate species.

The long-tailed macaque is also the predominant species in the international trade in live primates for research. From 2008–2019, at least 450,000 live long-tailed macaques (captive and wild-caught), and over 700,000 specimens (a broad term that includes tissue or blood samples, hair or even body parts) were part of this trade, with over (CITES Trade Database 2021). 

The global demand for live macaques in biomedical testing and related uses inevitably provides strong market incentives, with disastrous consequences for local populations. Moreover, animal welfare is be compromised at breeding facilities, which are unable to ensure the minimum standards of well-being. Renewed interest in harvesting wild-caught long-tailed macaques in countries like Indonesia and the Philippines is not be sustainable.

Clearer research on the population status and attempts to mitigate these conflicts must start as soon as possible.

The LTM Project spearheads the investigation of current trade of long-tailed macaques for biomedical and commercial purposes. By contacting organizations, companies and governments involved in the trade, we gather non-published data on transactions, non-detriment findings, captive breeding production plans, and annual harvest and export quotas.

We also seek a clearer and simpler way to report these trade numbers through CITES, where numbers are officially reported and import and export certificates are created. When assessing the veracity of legal international trade numbers, national trade amounts must be considered and matched to ensure that international does not exceed the long-tailed macaque population capacity.

Adapted from 
Hansen, M. F., Gill, M., Nawangsari, V. A., Sanchez, K. L., Cheyne, S. M., Nijman, V., & Fuentes, A. (2021). Conservation of Long-tailed Macaques: Implications of the Updated IUCN Status and the CoVID-19 Pandemic. Primate Conservation35, 1-11;
Hansen, M. F., Gill, M., Briefer, E. F., Nielsen, D. R. K. and Nijman, V. (2022). Monetary Value of Live Trade in a Commonly Traded Primate, the Long-Tailed Macaque, Based on Global Trade Statistics. Front. Conserv. Sci. 3:839131.