5 min read

Monkeys Spent Days Locked In Shack Just For Trying To Feed Their Family

“It would have been especially traumatic for the younger ones and the mums with babies.”

When Simon Purser received photos of monkeys inside a small wooden shack, he knew he had to do something — and quickly.

Two weeks ago, farmers in Larompong, Indonesia, captured 32 Sulawesi macaques in traps after they’d started eating cocoa, cloves and rambutan fruits off the farmers’ plantations. The farmers relocated the animals into a small wooden shack, and kept them in there for several days.

Sulawesi macaques trapped inside wooden shack
The Sulawesi macaques trapped inside the wooden shack | Wallacea Nature

Sulawesi macaques are a critically endangered species, and their main threat is habitat loss. Once the forest disappears, so does their food supply, and many macaques, like the ones captured in the shack, resort to eating food on local farms to try and survive. But this can get them into trouble.

Wooden shack containing macaque monkeys
The wooden shack in which the farmers locked up the macaques | Wallacea Nature

While the farmers did the right thing by alerting local government officials instead of killing them, the macaques had to stay inside the wooden shack for several days — and they were likely absolutely miserable.

Macaque monkeys locked up in wooden shack
Wallacea Nature

“Their cortisone levels would be through the roof,” Purser, wildlife expert and founder of Wallacea Nature, a new conservation consulting organization that assisted in the rescue, told The Dodo. “It would have been especially traumatic for the younger ones and the mums with babies.”

“More dominant members in the hierarchy of the group would be taking out stress and aggression on the more lower-ranking macaques,” Purser added. “A lot of in-fighting and injuries would be occurring, as can be evidenced by the wounds seen in the pictures. As they would be forced to move around in their own squalor, the chance for wound infections would be greatly increased.”

Macaque monkeys locked up in wooden shack
Wallacea Nature

The shack didn’t have any beams or branches for the macaques to climb upon, which meant they lived among their own waste. And the longer the macaques stayed inside the cage, the greater the chance was they’d get sick from the conditions.

People standing outside wooden shack
Rescuers working to relocate the macaques to a safer location | Wallacea Nature

Purser worked with local authorities to come up with an immediate plan of action — they decided to move the macaques to a conservation area in the Faruhumpenai Mountains Nature Reserve. Moving them away from their home wasn’t ideal, but it would help the animals avoid future conflicts with farmers that might not have ended so well.

People moving the macaques to a safer location
The rescue team relocating the macaques | Wallacea Nature

The macaques have now been released into their new forest, and Purser believes they’re doing well. He’s also pleased by how quickly Indonesians worked together to get these macaques to a safer place.

Rescuers relocating the macaques
The rescuers working to safely relocate the macaques | Wallacea Nature

“This case has demonstrated that there is political will in Indonesia to protect these endangered monkeys, and there is growing concern from Indonesian society about the state and welfare of its native and endemic wildlife,” Purser said. “This is good news, and a great basis upon which to build further conservation and animal welfare efforts for Sulawesi’s endemic fauna.”

To help macaques and other wild animals who have been rescued in Indonesia, you can make a donation to Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue & Education Centre.