Off the Streets and Back to the Forest
January 2016 was set to be the release month for the AFJ monkeys but again this was delayed as we waited on the monkey habitat survey team who arrived at the end of January to do the survey. In the meantime Jember Conservation Agency (BKSDA) pushed for AFJ to take two monkeys immediately as they were being kept in cat cages and no one could care for them. AFJ decided to accept them despite the first group not yet being released. Desmond and Dekker arrived on the 24th of January. In addition, AFJ also had a baby Langur at the sanctuary for a short time after an emergency rescue on the 23rd. For half the month, the monkey care team were in Flores doing education program with Jaan. Despite the rain, there were still Topeng Monyet sightings this month. All in all it was a huge month.
Animal care worker Anun and monkey program volunteer Lolita, along with program manager Ina spent two weeks in January educating children in the Flores, NTT islands in collaboration with JAAN. Though the focus was on sharks and dolphins, they were also able to educate on the need to protect monkeys from exploitation in the region. The same species of monkey used for Topeng Monyet, (Macaca Fascicularis) live in the national parks of Flores and often enter settlements and eat the farming crops yields. This means that many people see them as target for exploitation including sale for medical use, and as performers. Educating the children to understand that they can coexist with the monkeys by planting fruit trees in the vicinity so they don’t have to target crops will go a long way to stopping the sale and export of these monkeys, thus help stop topeng monyet in other regions of Indonesia.
Since both monkey care workers were away for half of January, the other workers were in charge of the monkey care but they did not have time to fill in observation forms. All monkeys were stable and in god health throughout January.The two monkeys received from Jember are adult males and had not been tested so they were placed in separate quarantine cages away from the other monkeys as they get used to the new environment. One of the monkeys has a damaged eye and the other is quite aggressive so they will have checkups done once they calm down.
Update on Monkey Street Performance (Topeng Monyet) Investigation and Campaign:
In January, despite the heavy rain, we still received reports of monkey performers. The new volunteer who sent in the first report was asked to continue to observe and try and get more information about the monkey’s background and where they came from but the rain intensified and he did not see them again. Nana asked the person that reported the Pajangan sighting to take photos next time and try and get information from them.
On 8 January, AFJ program manager Ina (Dessy) finished the campaign letter and request for an audience with the Governor on the issue of Topeng Monyet, which were delivered to the governor’s office on 25 January. AFJ wants to discuss how the government could begin a Monkey Performer Free Jogja 2016 campaign. We are now waiting for a response.
Documented Monkey Performance/Captive Monkey Sightings January 2016:
10 January 2016 Two men and a performing monkey were photographed in the Nologaten area. Photos and report from volunteer AFJ - Ari.
23 January 2016 A volunteer reported the sighting of a strange monkey being chased by people in her neighborhood. It was identified as a baby Javan Langur or Lutung (Trachypithecus auratus) that had escaped captivity. It was very young and had fallen so it had a cut nose and appeared quite weak, due to stress and probably an inadequate diet. An AFJ volunteer was able to get there immediately and capture the monkey before it fell into the wrong hands as people began arriving that wanted to catch and sell it. The baby Langur, who we named Lucky Luke, was brought to AFJ but since we were expecting the arrival of the two Jember monkeys that night, AFJ contacted the Javan Langur Center in Malang, East Java and they agreed to accept the Langur. They also provided information on treatment, feeding and tests to be conducted. They estimated him to be around 5 months old. Before leaving, Luke would need a medical checkup and a transport permit as he was going to another province. Because we were involving the government (BKSDA), they arrived and took Lucky to the Gembira Loka Zoo until the permit was issued.
28 January 2016 topeng monyet was spotted at Pajangan Housing Estate block12 but no photo was taken. (report received by AFJ volunteer Re)