Sulawesi is also a unique island as it hosts seven macaque species found nowhere else in the world. Discover more about Sulawesi on our Islands at Chester Zoo website.

Sulawesi macaque in the Tangkoko Nature Reserve (c) Jerome Micheletta
Sulawesi macaque in the Tangkoko Nature Reserve (c) Jerome Micheletta

The Tangkoko-Duasudara Nature Reserve, commonly called ‘Tangkoko’, is a forest of 8800 hectares and one of the last representative areas of the endemic biodiversity of North Sulawesi, home to the critically endangered crested macaque. There are currently fewer than 5000 crested macaques in Sulawesi; the population has declined by 80% during the past 30 years.

(c) Jerome Micheletta
(c) Jerome Micheletta

Mathilde Chanvin, the funder and coordinator of Tangkoko Conservation Education – a project we support – tells us more about the work that’s being done to help protect this critically endangered species.

“Tangkoko Conservation Education – which is the official education programme of the Macaca Nigra Project – is a conservation education project for local communities around the Tangkoko-Duasudara Reserve, situated in North Sulawesi, Indonesia.

(c) Jerome Micheletta
(c) Jerome Micheletta

“The crested macaques face two main threats: poaching and illegal logging. Poaching for bush meat decimates populations as the Minahasan (North Sulawesi populations) have deeply rooted cultural habits, which among other things consist of consuming forest wildlife.

“Macaques’ habitat is also seriously threatened: the nature reserve is protected and is monitored by rangers. Nevertheless, illegal logging is performed on a daily basis for economic purposes such as timber, housing and boat construction, land development and coconut plantations.

(c) Jerome Micheletta
(c) Jerome Micheletta

“Around 2000 individuals remain in the Tangkoko area, which is the biggest valuable habitat for this species.

“Tangkoko Conservation Education project aims to increase local peoples’ knowledge, positive attitude and habits towards their local environment. Our goal is to improve the protection of the Tangkoko reserve and its wildlife, especially the crested macaques. Together with two local coordinators (Deity Meikel and Nona Diko), we provide regular schools interventions for local school pupils as well as awareness campaigns in the surrounding villages.

Nona explaining a lesson about biodiversity in classrooms (c) Tangkoko Conservation Education
Nona explaining a lesson about biodiversity in classrooms (c) Tangkoko Conservation Education

“Created in January 2011 and focussing on one village, Tangkoko Conservation Education has successfully expanded and established educational interventions over four years. We are currently implementing our fifth consecutive programme, involving nine villages for a total of 500 pupils aged 9 – 16 years old. We implement theoretical interventions as well as field trips in the Tangkoko forest to learn more about the crested macaques.

“For many pupils, the field trip is a very important moment, as it is the first time they can see macaques in the wild: in certain villages the gardens and plantations make it too far for the children to reach the forest.

“Support from Chester Zoo is very important to the success of this project. The slogan of our project is ‘Belajar dari Alam, berbuat untuk Alam!’ which means ‘Learn from nature, act for nature!’ Together with the local pupils we hope to save the crested macaques.”

I am Mathilde Chanvin and I Act for Wildlife