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Endangered monkey numbers improve

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(fROM left to right) Stump-tailed macaque, Pig-Tailed Macaque, and Pileated gibbon. NETH PHEAKTRA VIA FACEBOOK

Endangered monkey numbers improve

The Ministry of Environment issued a report highlighting three kinds of endangered monkeys which are present in large numbers in Cambodia, including the pig-tailed macaque, pileated gibbon and stump-tailed macaque.

Pig-tailed macaque

Ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra said on October 30 that the number of rare pig-tailed macaque has increased to over 2,000 in the last 10 years within the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary in Mondulkiri province, though its overall population numbers worldwide have decreased.

He said the growth in population numbers for the pig-tailed macaque species indicates the successful implementation of the Wildlife Sanctuary Protection and Conservation Plan, which is funded in part by financial support from the sale of carbon credits in the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary.

“According to a study conducted by the environment ministry and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS Cambodia) in 2020, within the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary the number of pig-tailed macaques has increased from 733 in 2010 to at least 1,473 in 2020,” he said.

Pheaktra added that the pig-tailed macaque is relatively endangered and is on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of threatened species.

About 1,700 pig-tailed macaques are known to be present in China and about 1,500 exist in India. Thailand is also believed to have a large population of this species as well.

Pig-tailed macaques live in dense and mixed forests in families of five to six and in large groups of up to 40.

The species is nomadic and roams through the forest and its diet consists of fruits, flowers, grains and insects foraged from trees and on the ground.

Pileated gibbons

There are more than 65,000 pileated gibbons worldwide and Cambodia possesses over half of that total number, Pheaktra said, citing figures from the IUCN.

He said Cambodia is believed to have the highest population of pileated gibbons worldwide at about 35,000. They are living in dense and semi-dense forests in Cambodia’s protected areas, especially in the Cardamom Mountains.

“In eastern Thailand, there are about 30,000 of this species and there are some in the south-west of Laos, but there are relatively few pileated gibbons present there,” he said.

He said the pileated gibbon is a rare species and is listed on the IUCN Red List as globally endangered..

The species is easily identified as female or male, with the female being white and having a head bag and black chest, while the males are black when they are three to four years old, except the hair on their arms, legs and around the genitals are white.

“Pileated gibbons are found in dense and semi-dense forests. In general, they live in small groups of two to five, including the mother, father and children. The gibbons reach adulthood at age 6. They spend many hours in tall trees and often jump from branch to branch in the morning. Its food includes all kinds of fruits, leaves, flowers and insects,” he said.

The pileated gibbons are facing extinction due to poaching and trapping for the wildlife trade and habitat loss. Conservation groups and law enforcement officials have worked hard to prevent these wildlife trafficking crimes, Pheaktra said.

According to Pheaktra, the Apsara National Authority, Wildlife Alliance and the Forestry Administration released four pileated gibbon families into the forests of the Angkor Archaeological Park to protect and conserve the species.

“The environment ministry commends and appreciates the joint efforts of all parties in protecting and conserving these rare and endangered pileated gibbons. I call on all people to take care to preserve them and to stop hunting and trapping all wildlife and to stop trading and eating wild meats,” he said.

Stump-tailed macaque

For stump-tailed macaque, the ministry recorded 56 remaining groups of this globally endangered species in Cambodia in 2020, each of which has between 50 and 60 members.

The species, known by its scientific name Macaca arctoides, is registered in the IUCN Red List as vulnerable.

“There is no exact number of this stump-tailed macaque in the world. But in Cambodia, research found that there are 56 groups of them,” said Pheaktra.

Pheaktra said there is a small number of stump-tailed macaque to the west of the Mekong River and a moderate amount of them live to the east of the rivers in Cambodia. They are also found in northeastern India, southern China, northern Thailand and some parts of Indochina.

The stump-tailed macaque looks similar to the northern pig-tailed macaque or Macaca leonina. The only difference is that the stump-tailed macaque has a bright pink or red face and is bigger than the Macaca leonina. It normally weighs between 8-12 kg.

The stump-tailed macaque relies on the rainforest for food and shelter, and is known to eat small insects, as well as seeds, fruits, tubers and other plants.

They prefer to live in the highlands, or in evergreen tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests, and thrive in colder climates at elevations of up to 4km above sea level, according to the Wisconsin National Primate Research Centre.

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