Meet ‘Yaya’ the 3-year-old stump-tailed macaque (Macaca arctoides) who was rescued a few days ago from a tourist area close to Hua Hin. Its been a long road to rescue for this special little monkey. Six months ago the WFFT Rescue Team headed out to investigate her case, after one of the WFFT Day Trip guests had reported her being held at a taxi stand outside a well know hotel in Hua Hin. The team tried to rescue her on the first visit but were up against a strong force of a locally influential owner who had the local police on his side, even though this monkey was being kept illegally. On the first visit we spoke to the owner and explained how we could care for the monkey, providing her with proper diet, vet care and an environment with other con-specifics. The owner decided that he wanted to keep her alone on a chain, dressed like a little boy, next to a busy road in a heavily populated area. The WFFT then travelled to the police headquarters of the province to seek assistance in helping this poor little girl. They again hit a wall when they were sent back to a local police box close to where the monkey was being kept, to further add to insult they were told that they were dressed inappropriately to make a complaint at the police station (long camouflage print trousers and a WFFT shirt). We then headed to the local police box to be told “We can’t help you, but we will check out the case later”. As two of the members of the team waited in the police box, another was observing the monkey from a distance. The monkey was suspiciously loaded into a car and taken away from the scene. Around an hour later her owner arrived at the police station, and seemed to be best friends with the police man who was dealing with the case, we were then told that the monkey had not been there by both her owner and the police man.
Jump to six months down the line and low and behold, the owner no longer wants the monkey as she she is becoming more and more unhandled-able and ultimately more dangerous as she reaches maturity. We received a call for help from the owner. The team again headed out, this time to the house, where behind she was chained to a wooden post. After a few minutes talking to the owner, she was loaded in the transport cage and taken back to the WFFT Wildlife Rescue Centre.
The IUCN Red List currently lists the stump-tailed macaque as Vulnerable (VU) due to population reductions in the past and a projected decline of at least 30% over the coming 30 years due primarily to hunting and continued rates of habitat loss. They are hunted and traded for food, sport and traditional “medicine,” and accidental mortality due to trapping occurs. There is also a trade for bones, meat for food and the live animals as pets. In Thailand, habitat loss is a major threat, and hunting is prevalent.
After spending the first three years of her short life with a chain around her neck, this young girl can now have some kind of freedom. She is settling well to life at WFFT, after a quarantine period she will be introduced to another stump-tailed macaques, ‘Dollar’ and his field mates. We are hopeful she will integrate into the group well as she is young. We will keep you updated on her progress.