Let’s Celebrate Indonesian Primate Day!

There are around 200 species of primates, 40 of which can be found in Indonesia. Sadly, 70% of the primates in Indonesia is threatened with extinction due to habitat loss, poaching, or illegal trade. In 2000, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) published the list of 25 most threatened primates in the world. Among the 25 listed species, 4 of them are Indonesian primates: Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo abelii), Siau Island Tarsier (Tarsius tumpara), Javan Slow Loris (Nycticebus javanicus), and Pig-tailed Langur (Simias concolor). Those primates will be vanished from the earth if there is no real effort to save them.

Primates play a critical role in maintaining the balance of the ecosystem. Many primate species are indicators for the condition of the forest or ecosystem they live in. Primates like orangutans, gibbons, proboscis monkeys, and tarsiers are great attractions for ecotourism, which can bring economic benefits for local people around the habitat of the primates.

Even though primates in closely related to human (note: taxonomically, human is also a member of the Primate order), they are in a far more desolate condition than us. Not only ever losing their habitats, primates are severely threatened by illegal trade. Each year, thousands of Indonesian primates are captured from their homes to be traded.

Why primate trade is a serious problem?

  • Most, more than 95%, of the traded primates are captured from the wild.
  • The whole capture, transport, and trade processes are often very cruel and full of violence. Many of the primates died in the process.
  • Many of the traded Slow Lorises have had their teeth removed, to convince buyers that this animal is tame and it is not going to bite the owner. Tooth is removed using pliers, while the Slow Loris is spun around until the tooth falls out. This often causes infection and death for the Slow Loris.
  • Do you know that behind the cuteness of monkeys used in street performances lies severe cruelty? The monkeys were trained in sadistic ways like being hung upside down for months to make the obedient. Moreover, they are barely given food, unless they obey the masters' command.
  • In some places, the primates are sold for their meat or brain, because some people believe in their medicinal effect. This is totally nonsense, for there is no scientific proof that primate meat can heal diseases. The serving of such dishes are often evil for instance the primate is roasted or get its brain sucked out while it is alive!
  • Most of the primates kept as pets are in bad condition like having not enough food, very small cage, or having no companion.
  • Most of the traded primates are still very young and cute, but they will turn into some dangerous adults which make some owners kill or indifferently release them just to get rid of their pets.
  • Primates kept in bad condition are prone to contract various diseases that can be transmitted to humans (zoonosis) such as hepatitis, tuberculosis, herpes, asthma, etc.

Why we need "Indonesian Primate Day"?

Indonesia primate and habitat conservation requires active participation from the public. It takes people's awareness not to keep primate as pets because this hobby is one of the main triggers of poaching and trade, leading to the primates' extinction. People should also be educated that conserving the wildlife also means conserving their habitat, which also brings ecological and economic benefits for the society.

Thus, ProFauna Indonesia initiates Indonesian Primate Day, celebrated every 30 January. This day is expected to get the government to pay more attention to the importance of protecting primates an their habitats.

The History of Indonesian Primate Day

30 January is chosen to be Indonesian Primate Day because in on that day in 2001 ProFauna's activists conducted a campaign tour across Java and Bali called "Primate Freedom Tour". During the tour, the activists promoted primate conservation to the public in many cities. The campaign then inspired other people or communities to hold similar campaigns throughout the country.

Let's join the celebration!

You and your community are welcome to join the celebration of Indonesian Primate Day, this 30 January. You can do it in any public place: school, office, parks, etc. You may carry some posters and banners containing Indonesian primate conservation messages. ProFauna has provided the design for you to print.

Get your friends or family to have this campaign all at once on 30 January, let's make it big and mass! Do not forget to take pictures of your action and send it to ProFauna by email, and we will put together all the photos from all across the country in our website.

The theme of this year's Indonesian Primate Day is "Stop Primate Trade in Indonesia". It is time for us as the citizen who loves this country to take real action for Indonesian primates!

For you who wants to join this national movement, please contact Swasti Prawidya Mukti by email at: international@profauna.net or mobile: 08563693611

© 2003 - ProFauna Indonesia

ProFauna Indonesia is an Indonesian society for the protection of
wild animals and their habitats