15 December 2023
This week, Jersey Zoo bid a fond farewell to its troop of Sulawesi crested black macaques. The zoo has cared for this species since 1963, with their first breeding success in 1971. Since then, Durrell has celebrated over 70 births, which have all been valuable contributions to the European breeding programme launched to save the species from extinction. The charity is proud that there are now macaques from Jersey in most zoos that hold this species.
Over the last few years, the troop has reduced in size, with a couple of family members moving to other zoos to continue the breeding programme. Macaques are social animals and would naturally live in large groups, and it’s important that all animals at the zoo are provided with the right social opportunities and the ability to breed where it is required by the breeding programme. It was recommended that the remaining macaques move on to another zoo where they can join other macaques to form a larger troop and continue breeding, adding valuable individuals to the ‘safety net’ population.
As with all the animals, Jersey Zoo has to balance the welfare needs of every individual and species that they care for, so the best option for the macaques was to move the whole group together to another zoo where they could merge with an existing troop in a purpose-built facility.
ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is providing a fantastic new home for the macaques. Bella, Kato, Koko and Nanas will be living in a newly built habitat with a woodland to explore, and enough space for a much larger troop of macaques to live. Here, they join four females, who are genetically very important for the breeding programme.
Jersey Zoo Mammal Keeper Lisa O’Hara, who travelled with the macaques from Jersey to Whipsnade, said:
“It’s always sad when an animal you’ve worked with for a long time leaves the zoo, but knowing they are joining four new females is very exciting. Bella, Kato, Koko and Nanas will love being part of a bigger troop once again, and having a woodland to explore will be amazing! It was hard to say goodbye, but we are looking forward to seeing how the troop grows – I’ll definitely be paying them a few visits to see how they’re settling in! It’s great to know that they will continue to make valuable contributions to the international breeding programme for this Critically Endangered species.”
Jersey Zoo continues with its strong commitment to supporting international breeding programmes for Critically Endangered species, and although the macaques may be leaving the zoo, it is a huge step in continuing to save them from extinction.