When we reached near the end of the long stretch of beach at Desaru, where there were no more people playing on the beach and sea- we heard movement in the trees beside us. There was a huge monkey and its baby that looked different than a Long-tailed Macaque. It was much bigger and had dark fur on its crown. Not sure of the species, I researched when I got back home and looked up Monkeys in Malaysia. I soon found out it was the Southern Pig-tailed Macaque, sadly listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List. It was my first time seeing another monkey besides the Long-tailed Macaque in the wild, and I was happy to see the little baby playing around with its mother!
The Southern Pig-tailed Macaque (Macaca nemestrina) is a medium sized ‘Old World Monkey’ that has a stocky build, with a dark brown back and lighter brown in the lower parts of body. Their common name refers to the short tail that they have, similar to a pig’s tail. It can be found in the rainforest up to 2000 meters , but will also come to plantations and gardens in search of food. They are very skilled climbers and unlike most primates they love water. They are mainly terrestrial and live in large groups and up to 40 animals have been documented, but mainly they will be in groups of 10. Their omnivorous diet consists of mainly invertebrates, fruits, seeds, fungi and cereals. This monkey is known to be trained to climb coconut trees and pick the ripe fruits for their owner. A strong bond is said to develop between the owner and the macaque.
This species has been classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List. This is because of the burst of human population in lowland forests of Indonesia and Malaysia and the habitat destruction for the creation of oil palm plantations there. They have also been persecuted by farmers who think that this primate is the cause for a particular crop predation.
Let’s stop further deforestation, and at least preserve the remaining green places in the world- for these beautiful creatures and many others that are suffering.
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