Selamatkan Yaki, in collaboration with the Pacific Institute (Indonesia) and the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust (UK), aims to protect the Critically Endangered Sulawesi crested black macaque (Macaca nigra) and its native habitat.
We support conservation of the Sulawesi crested black macaque through research, environmental education, protected area management and capacity building
The programme vision is:
"Macaca nigra flourish as self-sustaining populations in their native habitat within healthy, balanced and well-protected ecosystems and are recognised as a symbol of local and national pride."
Selamatkan Yaki – "Save the Sulawesi crested black macaques" – is a conservation, research and education programme aimed at protecting the habitat and remaining populations of M. nigra (known locally as yaki) in its native range.
ASAP Species That We Work On
- Celebes crested macaque Macaca nigra
Threats to the Celebes crested macaque include:
The consumption of macaques for meat in North Sulawesi is considered by some a tradition, with a majority of hunting meeting demands as ceremonial food rather than for subsistence. Some macaques are also caught live for the wildlife trade. Despite both types of trade being illegal under Indonesian law, they are still carried out and thus hunting has been identified as potentially the greatest threat to the species' survival.
- Habitat Loss
Aside from unsustainable rates of hunting, the forests of North Sulawesi have experienced extensive habitat loss primarily due to logging and land conversion within which, due to their radiation is an already restricted range.
What We Do
In 2008 the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species changed the status of the M. nigra from 'Endangered' to 'Critically Endangered' due to previous research that indicated that there had been >80% population decline in a period of only 40 years. It is likely that M. nigra populations have continued to decline since the last published surveys, even within protected forest areas, and that the anthropogenic pressures within M. nigra habitat continues, and is threatening the species with imminent extinction.
Conservation of M. nigra can only be effective and move forward with an accurate evaluation of the current threats facing the populations. Socio-demographic surveys of communities' knowledge, attitudes and behaviour therefore provide a useful insight into human activity and the threats to the species and its remaining habitat. Additionally, the monitoring of bushmeat being traded in local markets can be a useful measure of levels of hunting activity, local demand and consumption of wild animals, and can give an indication of the remaining populations of species through accessibility of supply. Understanding the levels of bushmeat consumption, wildlife trade and forest resource exploitation activities still performed today, is therefore vital so that conservation initiatives can identify effective conservation actions and target communities causing the greatest threat to the remaining populations of M. nigra.
Species Conservation Action Plan
In 2013, Selamatkan Yaki (SY), working together with in-situ and ex-situ partners, developed a species conservation action plan for the M. nigra (Hilser et al., 2013). The plan represents a guiding strategy and framework for action for conservation. In the long-term, SY and partners aim to:
- quantify and monitor populations of M. nigra
- assess the impact of consumption and trade of M. nigra
- improve effectiveness of law enforcement
- bring about behavioural change
- develop alternative livelihoods for local communities
- increase advocacy for conservation and support of the Selamatkan Yaki programme
- increase the species profile of M. nigra, and
- procure long-term funds to ensure sustainability for conservation.
Protected Area Management
The current focus of the protected area management project is to improve protection of Tangkoko Nature Reserve, which holds a significant population of M. nigra. This can only be achieved by reducing current threats, namely hunting and habitat loss. SY have established an alliance which represents key stakeholders working together in the area to protect this unique forest. By strategically evaluating current protection activities, working directly with patrols, providing equipment and techniques, facilitating local and regional dialogue, monitoring illegal activities and developing ecotourism, it is proposed that management of this protected area can be brought to a higher standard.
The SY team developed an Education and Awareness Raising Strategy ("EARS"), which has grown into a dynamic multiple year plan reviewed by a group of dedicated social scientists, conservationists and marketers known as the EARS Advisory Group. To improve people's knowledge of M. nigra, the EARS team organises pride campaigns throughout North Sulawesi to promote pro-conservation behaviour, focusing on the yaki as a flagship species. The approach is to connect yaki conservation with community leaders and educational, religious and cultural institutes. During the Yaki Pride Campaigns SY focuses on all layers of the community. SY reach the younger generations by giving presentations at schools, followed by a Yaki Youth Camp: a weekend full of fun activities to train them to become young yaki ambassadors. SY also organise yaki information provisioning through exhibitions, information stands, billboards and community events. In the long-term, it is hoped these well-supported awareness campaigns will establish the yaki as a socially popular conservation icon and develop a deeper sense of recognition and pride in local flora and fauna.
Where We Work
The team is based mainly in Manado, the capital of North Sulawesi in Indonesia where the macaques are endemic, but also includes advisors from Taronga Conservation Society in Sydney, Australia and the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, UK.
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Featured image: Andrew Walmsley