added a research item
The LTM Project - The Long-Tailed Macaque Project
- Malene Friis Hansen
- Agustin Fuentes
- Elodie Floriane Mandel-Briefer
The IUCN Red List assessment of Macaca fascicularis 2022
Non-human primates (primates) are regarded as key research subjects for pre-clinical trials of several drugs aimed to alleviate human suffering. It has long been suggested that the predominant species in the international trade in live primates for use in research is the long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis). However, little is still known about the value of this international trade. Whilst the international trade to supply the requirement for biomedical testing is known to encourage illegal wildlife trade, we lack a detailed understanding of the overall value and magnitude of this trade. Such information is vital to facilitate the design of effective conservation strategies in range countries, in order to mitigate the exploitation of wild populations by organized crime networks. Here, data from CITES and the UN Comtrade databases were combined to calculate the value of this trade. We also compared the number of individual primates traded as reported in the two databases to investigate possible correlations. Results show that, from 2010 to 2019, the international trade in long-tailed macaques constituted a market worth of ∼US $1.25 billion. We found a positive correlation between individual primates traded in the UN Comtrade Database and individual long-tailed macaques reported in the CITES Trade Database, suggesting that we can use the UN Comtrade database to investigate values and magnitude of the international legal trade in wildlife, and that legal trade in live primates is primarily constituted of long-tailed macaques alone.
The often synanthropic long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis) is listed in Appendix II of CITES and was recently updated to Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. The update was highly anticipated, as it can have wide-reaching implications for long-tailed macaque conservation and trade. Long-tailed macaques have suffered from intensive capture for bio-medical research since the 1960s. From 2008-2019, at least 450,000 live long-tailed macaques, and over 700,000 "specimens" from an unknown number of individuals were part of this trade, with over 50,000 termed as wild-caught. These official trade numbers exclude laundering of wild-caught individuals as captive bred, harvesting for breeding center upkeep, their capture for the pet trade, hunting for consumption, and culling due to human-macaque conflicts. With Fooden's population estimate of 3 million long-tailed macaques in Southeast Asia in 2006, this is likely not sustainable. In some areas, they have already been extirpated because of this trade, as detected by a survey of 200 km of suitable habitat in Cambodia in 2008. Long-tailed macaques are one of the most geographically widely dispersed and adaptable primate species. However, their flexibility and preference for the forest edge draws them to anthropogenic habitats, where their visibility results in assumptions of overabundance , as was demonstrated on Java in 2009 and 2017. Long-tailed macaques face many threats, and there is an urgent need for systematic demographic and range surveys across Southeast Asia, as well as investigation into local, regional and national perceptions of long-tailed macaques. Current conservation foci should include dynamic widespread synanthropic species, such as long-tailed macaques, which are often targets of intensive trade and other threats. Insights from such studies may be critical for effective conservation and management in the 21 st century.