Northern Pigtail Macaques: Four dropped off in September 2020.
Another two poor Northern Pigtail Macaques have been abandoned at Angkor Archaeological Park, the last couple of days, bringing the total for September to four NPTM. One at Amber Troop at Angkor Thom, named Rolex, and one named Ricky, at Angkor Wat, with Carbzilla Troop. Along with Sovannah and Torres, this brings the total to four NPTM, released this month.
People in Cambodia keep these baby monkeys as pets, until they get older and become very mobile, and destructive. They often begin to bite the owners, as well…biting is part of the monkeys’ communication methodology. It cannot be trained out of them. The owner then brings the pet monkey to a temple, or park, where they will be fed by tourists, and monks, and abandons the poor, scared monkey there.
Dangers they face, every day:
Poachers see these Northern Pigtail Macaques, and Long Tail Macaques at the temples as easy catches, because they are imprinted on humans. The native semi-domesticated long tail macaques and released pigtails are used to accepting food from human hands. They are not afraid of people, and run to them. All a person has to do, is open their car door, or trunk, put a pile of fruit inside, and wait. The monkeys will hop in, start eating, and the poacher closes the door/trunk. Poachers trapped Jack (of Amari Troop) that way, but the cameramen at the park saw them take Jack. They chased the car down and held the poachers there, until police arrived. Poaching is a terrible problem in Cambodia, because the people are very poor, and they can get money by selling the monkeys across the border, in Thailand.
How they fare…
Most released pets eventually disappear. Humans carry them off, wild animals attack them, or they are traffic casualties. Feral dogs attack them, or roving bachelor monkeys on the outskirts of the troop. (Those males are hoping to mate with the troop females, and will instinctively kill unattended babies, so the females will go back into estrus.) The “security staff” monkeys of the troops, who stay on the front line and guard the troop, attack them. Those troop members see strange monkeys as a threat. Add in that they are Northern Pigtail Macaques, while the established troops are Long Tail Macaques, and that can cause additional problems with integration. The Northern Pigtail Macaque named Torres, a yearling, has already disappeared. (See related story.)
Amber Troop has the highest percentage of released Northern Pigtail Macaques, as integrated members. They have the highest number of hybrids amongst the troops at Angkor Archaeological Park, where the released Pigtails have mated with native Long Tails.
These released pet Northern Pigtail Macaques are not jungle savvy; they do not know how to monkey. These inexperienced monkeys can lose their lives because of offenses involving rank, including who eats first. Troop members attack them daily…because of their inexperience, they continually offend. The best case scenario is that a troop female accepts them as a foster child. Even then, the poor abandoned monkeys continue to offend. The whole troop castigates the unfortunate pets, until they learn troop politics.
Written by Cindy C.