The BUAV has welcomed a decision made at the 26th meeting of the Animals Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to call upon countries trading in the long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis) to look at the impact the international trade is having on wild populations.
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.
The BUAV attended the Animals Committee meeting, which took place in Geneva this week, and submitted further evidence for consideration from recent field investigations carried out in South East Asia. Countries included in the Review are Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
The Species Survival Network (SSN) , an international coalition of over 80 non-governmental organisations (including the BUAV), produced a dossier of evidence based on the findings of the BUAV investigations, which was submitted to the CITES Animal Committee in 2011 with a formal request that the Animals Committee carry out an urgent review of the impact of international trade on the long-tailed macaque.
The BUAV has actively campaigned for many years to highlight the plight of the long-tailed macaque and to place the species on the agenda of CITES and national governments. Evidence obtained by us during our many field investigations into the primate trade in South East Asia, including Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam has raised many concerns, not just about animal welfare, but also regarding the sustainability of this trade. These concerns include the inadequacy of accurate population data for the species, the misuse of source codes by exporting countries and the lack of validity of captive breeding colonies.
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 every year. The breeding and supply of the species for research has developed into a large-scale enterprise especially within the region of South East Asia. The number of long-tailed macaques exported globally sharply rose from 119,373 between 1999 and 2003 to 261,823 between 2004 and 2008.
Sarah Kite, Director of Special Projects, BUAV stated: “We welcome the decision made by the Animals Committee that CITES will now review the trade in the long-tailed macaque. The growing plundering of the macaque populations from their native forests in South East Asia to feed the breeding farms for the international research industry is an issue we have been raising for many years and one that urgently needs to be addressed.”