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Video: Critically Endangered monkey ‘chatters’ for camera

A critically endangered black-crested macaque chatters in front of a camera trap. Image taken from video footage copyright WCS.

  • The Wildlife Conservation Society has launched its first full-scale camera trapping campaign in northern Sulawesi in collaboration with the Bogani Nani Wartabone National Park authority.
  • Cameras have been capturing footage of rare wildlife found only in the region.
  • Videos show a critically endangered black-crested macaque “chattering” at a camera and a near-threatened Sulawesi warty pig ambling past one.

These monkeys seem to love “selfies”.

In 2011, a female black-crested macaque (Macaca nigra) took a series of “selfies” on a camera set up by British photographer David Slater on the Indonesian Island of Sulawesi. These “selfies” catapulted the species into the limelight.

Now, camera traps in northern Sulawesi have captured some rare, fun footage of this same critically endangered species.

In one video, a black-crested macaque — found only in Sulawesi — looks at a camera, examines it, and “chatters” — a vocal behavior that scientists from Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) say is most likely indicative of “curiosity with the camera”. The macaque even tries to pull the camera off.

Individuals of this species are at serious risk of extinction. Considered a delicacy by local Sulawesi populations, the macaques are severely threatened by hunting and habitat loss.

 

Another video shows a near-threatened Sulawesi warty pig ambling past a camera. The WCS team says that they have also captured a group of endangered maleos on camera, a large bird that lays its eggs in a deep hole in the sand, and relies on the heat generated by the sun or underground hot springs to incubate them.

 

These cameras are a part of the first full-scale camera trapping campaign in northern Sulawesi, WCS says. The surveys will be carried out in collaboration with the Bogani Nani Wartabone National Park authority.

“Our initial results are already providing very exciting insights into Sulawesi’s unexplored rainforests as you can see with these quirky characters showing up in the video traps,” WCS Indonesia Country Director Noviar Andayani said in a statement.

WCS’s Northern Sulawesi Coordinator, Iwan Hunowu, added, “Sixty-seven percent of Sulawesi’s mammals are endemic, but if you remove bats this rises to 99 percent. There are 72 endemic mammal species. The camera trap results will be critical in informing ourconservation strategy.”