The Macaca Nigra Project (Macaca nigra = Sulawesi crested macaque) has been launched in April 2006 in order to study the ecology, reproductive biology and social system of Sulawesi crested black macaques in their natural habitat, and to promote conservation of this fascinating species. The IUCN Red List categorizes this species as critically endangered with still decreasing population numbers. Next category would be "extinct in the wild". So this is our last chance to save this species.
The main risk for crested macaques is habitat loss due to (illegal) land conversion and hunting for bush meat. On top of this, macaques forced to forage in plantations due to lack of suitable habitat are treated as pests and extinguished, despite their protection status.
The population in the Tangkoko-Batuangus Nature Reserve in the northeastern spot of Sulawesi, Indonesia, where the Macaca Nigra Project is located, seems to be the biggest and most viable one in the species’ natural distribution range. The reserve covers less than 9000 hectares (90 square kilometers), i.e. not even half of the size of Brooklyn, New York City. Our last census in 2009 assessed the population as less than 2000 Individuals. Every year, the forest is threatened and diminished by forest fires, which often lead to areas formerly covered with trees ending up as for the macaques unusable grassland.
The Macaca Nigra Project is a joint project between the Liverpool John Moores University, UK, the Indonesian Bogor Agricultural University, West Java and the University Sam Ratulangi, North Sulawesi. We not only carry out research, but also directly protect the macaques and other wildlife by destroying traps, releasing animals from traps and through awareness and education projects.
Given that our budget mainly stems from research foundations, extra donations for conservation activities need to be raised. One of our activities is to pay local helpers for chasing those macaques back into the forest that try to invade the plantations and villages surrounding the reserve. We have just witnessed too often how individuals got shot by frustrated villagers that try to protect their crops and gardens. For this activity, we urgently need you help!