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Action for Primates

Long-tailed macaques, photo by Sarah Kite

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Indonesia in breach of its own wildlife legislation by allowing export of wild-caught monkeys

26th February 2021

Action for Primates has criticised a decision by the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry to allow the capture and export of 2,070 long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) in 2021 for biomedical research, despite legislation that was introduced in the country in 1994 that prevented such exports of wild macaques. The 2,070 quota has been allocated to two companies that export macaques for research: CV Primaco and CV Inquatex.

Sarah Kite, spokesperson for Action for Primates, has stated: To allow the export of wild long-tailed macaques is not only a breach of Indonesian wildlife legislation, it is also a huge backward step at a time when there is widespread global condemnation of the trapping of wild non-human primates, especially because of the cruelty and suffering caused by the forcibly removal from their natural habitat, social and family groups.

The resumption of capturing and exporting wild long-tailed macaques by Indonesia is an alarming development. Several official bodies and organisations recognise the suffering involved in the capturing of wild non-human primates. For example, the International Primatological Society has stated:

...the capture of nonhuman primates from the wild is stressful for the animals and increases the suffering, risk of injuries, spread of disease and even death during capture, storage and transport (1)

The European Union recognised that the capture of non-human primates from the wild is highly stressful for the animals concerned and carries an elevated risk of injury and suffering during capture and transport. In order to end the capture of animals from the wild for research, including for purposes of breeding, the European Union Directive (2010/63/EU) introduced provisions with the objective of moving towards using only non-human primates who have been bred in self-sustaining colonies, from parents who themselves have been bred in captivity. The implementation date for these new provisions has been set for 2022. (2)

Long-tailed macaques are indigenous to Indonesia and are part of the rich and diverse ecosystem, contributing to the country's unique biodiversity. The species is listed under Appendix II on CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). Further, there has been a new global assessment by the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List of Endangered Species for the conservation status of the long-tailed macaque. The species has now been listed as 'Vulnerable' with a decreasing population trend (3).

The reason often cited by authorities for allowing the capture of long-tailed macaques is that the animals are coming into 'conflict' with residents and farmers in local communities. An ever-increasing expansion and encroachment into wildlife habitat by people is the primary cause for these 'conflicts', not the fault of the macaques. Rather than allowing wild macaques to be trapped and exported for research, Action for Primates urges the authorities to resolve the issues that lead to negative interactions, such as deforestation and disposal of food waste that results in macaques being attracted to human settlements.

Action for Primates calls on the Government of Indonesia to enact legislation that provides protection for the indigenous long-tailed macaques and urges the adoption of humane and preventative methods that can be used to resolve 'conflicts' without resorting to their capture and export.


Action for Primates is a not-for-profit group that campaigns on behalf of non-human primates worldwide.
E-mail: info@actionforprimates.org
Web site: http://actionforprimates.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ActionforPrimates
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/actionforprimates/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Action4Primates


  1. "Trade in Primates Captured in the Wild" International Primatological Society: http://www.internationalprimatologicalsociety.org/TradeInWildPrimates.cfm
  2. 2010/63/EU OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 22 September 2010 on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes (Article 10) Directive: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/eli/dir/2010/63/oj
  3. https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/12551/17949449