Abstract # 55:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 21, 2007 05:00 PM-07:00 PM: Session 7 (South Main Hall) Poster Presentation

Revising Urban Myths of Urban Monkeys - Morphology, Serology and Conservation Management of an Island Population of Long-tailed Macaques (Macaca Fascicularis)

B. P. Y-H Lee1, L. Jones-Engel2, M. A. Schillaci3, G. A. Engel4 and A. Fuentes5
1Central Nature Reserve, Conservation Division, National Parks Board, Singapore 259569, Singapore, 2Washington National Primate Research Center, University of Washington, 3Department of Social Sciences, University of Toronto at Scarborough, 4Swedish/Providence Family Medicine, Swedish Hospital, Seattle, Washington, 5Department of Anthropology, University of Notre Dame
     Macaca fascicularis has been studied extensively throughout their distribution in South and Southeast Asia. Despite this rich body of research, the estimated 2000 long-tailed macaques on the tiny island state of urbanized Singapore remain virtually undescribed. Singapore, located at the southern tip of Peninsular Malaysia, is one of only two cities in the world that has primary rainforest within its boundaries. The rainforest, in the form of two nature reserves totaling some 3000ha, is managed by National Parks Board, Singapore (NParks). Singapore’s monkeys are unique in several aspects (number of samples, n=99), 1) their adult morphology and growth patterns are significantly different than populations of M. fascicularis from mainland SE Asia, 2) an unusually high seroprevalence of simian infectious agents and virtual absence of exposure to endemic human pathogens is evident among all of the island’s subpopulations and 3) NParks is actively engaged in conserving and managing the monkeys. The conservation of this insular population of macaques presents a great challenge due to population increase in the nature reserves and forested areas, and escalating human-primate conflicts in a human-dominated landscape. A holistic strategy to tackle this problem would include population control, sound environmental design, landscape-planning to reduce human-primate contact, and a well-crafted communication plan for public outreach. Our pilot conservation program is designed to be a model of sustainable human/macaque commensalism in a rapidly urbanizing world.