Long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis)

Assessment Summary

Long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) are native to much of Southeast Asia and have been noted as one of the most geographically wide-spread and abundant non-human primate species in the world. They have been deliberately introduced to a variety of small tropical islands, commonly for biomedical research.

Long-tailed macaques are a pest in many introduced areas and the species is included on the Global Invasive Species Database list of 100 of the "World's Worst" invaders. In Mauritius, the introduced population has contributed to the extinction of one parrot and one owl species, and contributed to the decline of many endangered bird species including pigeons, parrots, birds of paradise and frogmouths. Small reptiles and large mammals have also been affected. Modelling indicates that the Tasmanian climate is unsuitable for this species, however should a population establish, competition with local possum species could be expected.

The species has a significant impact on agriculture and consumes a wide variety of crops. Macaques are frequently killed as agricultural pests and some farmers have stopped planting crops due to damage caused. Long-tailed macaques are also noted for being a nuisance to humans. They may grab or take human possessions, threaten people by lunging, biting, following or chasing, and raid houses, bins and cars. Mobbing behaviour is observed occasionally.

Wild populations of long-tailed macaques are vulnerable to a variety of diseases including herpes B virus, canine distemper virus and hepatitis E. Some of these diseases can be fatal to humans.

The species is currently listed as a species of 'least concern' under the IUCN Red List and is classed as a 'serious' threat under the Vertebrate Pest Committee's list of exotic animals (Vertebrate Pest Committee, 2007). In Tasmania, long-tailed macaques are 'controlled animals' under the Tasmanian Nature Conservation Act 2002.

This risk assessment concludes that long-tailed macaques are a serious threat to Tasmania and proposes that imports be restricted to those license holders approved for keeping serious threat species.

Assessment Documentation

  Long-tailed Macaque (Macaca fascicularis)   (1Mb)

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