BUAV welcomes action taken by CITES over the trade in long-tailed macaques in South East Asia


The BUAV has welcomed the decision made at the 27th meeting of the Animals Committee of the Convention of Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to retain Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam within the Review of Significant Trade. At the meeting, held in Mexico, CITES recognized the trade in long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) from Laos PDR to be of ‘Urgent Concern’ and from Cambodia and Vietnam as ‘Possible Concern’. CITES, which is an international agreement between governments with 175 member Parties, aims to ensure that international trade in animals does not threaten their survival.

There has been a rapid expansion of the international trade in long-tailed macaques since 2004 and the species, which is currently listed as the most heavily traded mammal on the CITES appendices, is exported around the world in the thousands to research laboratories each year, in particular to the USA and Europe.

Evidence obtained by the BUAV from numerous field investigations carried out in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam has raised serious concerns about the trade in long-tailed macaques. At the CITES meeting, the BUAV and representatives from the Species Survival Network (SSN), an international coalition of over 80 non-governmental organisations (including the BUAV) was successful in advocating many of these concerns surrounding the lack of population data, misuse of CITES source codes by exporting countries, lack of validity for captive breeding claims and questionable captive breeding capabilities.

CITES has agreed a list of recommendations to be implemented by the three countries to look at the impact the international trade is having on wild populations, and to provide evidence that their trade is being carried out sustainably and adhering to CITES regulations. Included in the recommendations, the countries are required to provide justification for, and details of, the scientific basis by which it has been established that the quantities of long-tailed macaques exported are not detrimental to the survival of the species in the wild. Additionally the countries have to report on the measures being used to distinguish between wild-caught and captive-bred animals to ensure that exports of wild long-tailed macaques are not mis-declared as animals bred or produced in captivity.

The BUAV has been successfully campaigning for many years against the cruel international trade in primates for research. The recognition by the Animals Committee of CITES to retain the long-tailed macaque within the Review in Significant Trade for Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, due to concerns surrounding the status of the species in the wild, and to implement immediate action is a welcomed and significant move.

The BUAV is, however, extremely disappointed that despite Indonesia initially being one of the countries in the Review, the trade in long-tailed macaques from Indonesia was classified as ‘least concern’ at the CITES meeting and subsequently removed. We have carried out a number of field investigations in Indonesia and raised concerns about the trade in long-tailed macaques for research. 

For further information about the BUAV primate investigations please follow the links below: