So, what’s this all about? We are Selamatkan Yaki (Indonesian for ‘Save the Sulawesi crested black macaques’), a conservation, research and education programme focused on the beautiful, charismatic and rather stylish yaki. Through this website we hope to share every step of the way along the road to securing a better future for this Critically Endangered monkey and keep you up-to-date with how you can help at home.
Sadly, these primates are facing massive population declines as much as 90% over the past 30 years and are as such now Critically Endangered according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. In their habitat here in Northern Sulawesi, Indonesia, a predominantly Christian population means a lack of religious constraint over wildlife consumption as in other regions of Indonesia. Minahasans tell me they are known to eat anything that moves, and that if it doesn’t move they have probably eaten it already. Yaki, the local term for the macaque species (Macaca nigra) are considered a delicacy and are hunted at a highly unsustainable rate. Thus, the primary threats for yaki here are bushmeat and commercial trade, drawing the attention of our conservation actions towards mitigating the impact of this.
So, what are we doing here? Working partnerships both in-situ and ex-situ have combined to identify the anthropogenic threats posed to the current population of M. nigra within their native range, culminating in the production of a Species Conservation Action Plan for the species. A multitude of approaches addressing the conservation objectives comprise research, education, the improvement of ecotourism infrastructure and sustainable development. Long-term cooperative efforts will invest resources into improving agriculture techniques and sustainability and developing alternative livelihood strategies.
Collaborating with national and international stakeholders, raising awareness forms the central motivation of the programme, disseminating information to local communities, government bodies and universities in the form of presentations and the distribution of education materials. It is hoped that the species can be recognised with pride as a valuable flagship, highlighting the wealth and diversity of the flora and fauna in North Sulawesi.
Ultimately, the programme team are working together to maintain a self-sustaining wild population of SCBMs (Macaca nigra) and protect their forest habitat, with support from Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust in the UK, Taronga Zoo in Australia and the Pacific Institute in Manado. We work primarily with local people, helping to strengthen awareness, develop education and understanding of the macaque’s situation and the changes that need to be made to ensure the future survival of these majestically curious jet black ninjas of the jungle!