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Taiwanese macaques abuse alarms after they lose protected species status

Animal groups flag gruesome treatment of illegally kept Formosan macaques

Chained Formosan macaque in Taiwan. (EAST photo)
Formosan macaque in the wild. (COA photo)

Chained Formosan macaque in Taiwan. (EAST photo)

Formosan macaque in the wild. (COA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Reports of Formosan macaques being mistreated are on the rise after the primate endemic to Taiwan was removed from the list of protected species in 2019, animal welfare groups said Thursday (April 14).

The concern was raised at a press conference jointly organized by the Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan (EAST), Association for Coexistence with Macaca Cyclopis, Taiwan SPCA (TSPCA) and Taiwan Animal Equality Association.

The animal rights community said 151 cases of alleged Formosan macaque abuse have been reported since January 2019. That was when the Council of Agriculture (COA) declared the animal as general wildlife, stripping it of protected species status because its population had “stabilized.”

Taiwanese macaques have been kept illegally, often caged, living alone in small spaces and nasty environments, despite them being social animals. In some cases, the monkeys were deprived of access to water or sunlight, or had accidentally hung themselves on their chains.

EAST Director Chen Yu-min (陳玉敏) accused the authorities of lax management of general wildlife and regulatory loopholes. Chen added the Wildlife Conservation Act (野生動物保育法) has failed to address human-macaque conflicts, and hunting of the monkeys has become rampant because of their threat to crops.

The animal society is calling for action, demanding a ban on raising, breeding, or trading Formosan macaques. It also wants a hotline for reporting illegal conduct.

Meanwhile, the animal society urges the relevant regulations to be reviewed and amended for better wildlife management, including putting in place mechanisms for wildlife rescue and rehabilitation.