International Macaque Week
This week Drusillas Park is celebrating the first ever International Macaque Week. Taking place from Monday 1st May to Sunday 7th May, the week is designed to raise awareness for a truly amazing species.
With the exception of humans, macaques are the most widespread primates. There are 22 different species of macaque dispersed right across the globe.
Drusillas offers a loving home to Sulawesi crested macaques. These pink-bottomed, short-tailed monkeys are native to the tropical rainforests on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. The species has very distinct features; their jet black hair, vibrant amber eyes and crest on their foreheads (which raises when aroused), makes them instantly recognisable.
In the wild these monkeys live in large family groups that can contain over 100 individuals. However, their numbers are rapidly decreasing due to extensive habitat loss as well as the illegal bush meat trade and the illegal pet trade.
Sadly, their population has declined by as much as 80% over the last 40 years in the wild. The International Union for Conservation of Nature now lists the Sulawesi crested macaque as one of the world’s 25 most endangered primates.
The principal threat to their survival is over-hunting for meat. In Indonesia the macaque is considered a delicacy, and is often served for special occasions. Deforestation is another major threat to the species, with large areas of their habitat are being cleared for coconut plantations, garden plots and roads.
With over 20 different endangered and rare species living at Drusillas, the zoo is proud to be playing their part in the protection of these animals. Many of the animals at Drusillas are involved in breeding programmes, often monitored by studbook keepers, to ensure the future survival of the species.
Zoos and other animal collections help primate conservation, both through education and captive breeding programmes. The thriving group at Drusillas are part of the European conservation programme and the zoo has enjoyed many breeding successes in recent years.