Siti The Macaque – Homeward Bound
A lone macaque rescued from the illegal wildlife trade in Malaysia has been flown home to her native Indonesia with the help of a UK animal welfare charity.
Siti the endangered Moor Macaque (Macaca maura) was finally flown home on the 3rd of April after over three years of effort by the internationally active charity Wild Welfare, an organisation dedicated to improving the welfare of animals under human care.
The female macaque was illegally trafficked into Malaysia and was kept as a pet for the first few months of her life before being rescued by local authorities. A temporary home was found for her at Lok Kawi Wildlife Park who asked Wild Welfare for assistance in finding Siti a new situation.
Through the charity’s partnerships and networks with animal welfare NGOs and wildlife facilities across the region, they were able to find a new home for her at Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Centre. However, the logistics of getting her there were far from simple. Covid restrictions, strict testing and export requirements, along with complicated and lengthy flight or ferry plans made it a very challenging exercise to move one macaque to her native home.
Eventually the Wild Welfare team were able to charter a flight to transport Siti the 1,000 miles to her new home in Sulawesi. Once she has settled in and cleared the mandatory quarantine period, Siti will be able to mix with other macaques for the first time after years of living on her own. She will also have the opportunity to climb trees and interact with a large and naturalistic environment in her new enclosure. Because she is endemic to Sulawesi, it is also hoped that she may even be able to be released back out into the wild.
Dave Morgan, Wild Welfare’s Founder and Field Director flew with Siti to ensure her safe arrival. He said “We refused to give up on her. There were so many frustrating setbacks that sometimes it felt like we would never reach this moment, but we’re finally here and the whole team is so happy for Siti.”
Sylvester Dison, Animal Technician at Lok Kawi Wildlife Park also flew with Siti with additional support from Dr Rosa Sipangkui, Senior Veterinarian at the park, who transported Siti’s veterinary permits. Nur’Ain Acheh, Senior Officer at Sabah Wildlife Department arranged specialised CITES permits to enable Siti to be moved across an international border, in addition to bacterial testing to ensure Siti was free from disease. The Wild Welfare team were grateful for assistance and collaborative efforts from Sabah Wildlife Department, who were integral in establishing a successful outcome for Siti.
“We are really happy to be a part of this activity. Hopefully she will have a good life there, and new friends too!” Nur’Ain Acheh, Senior Officer, Sabah Wildlife Department.
In order to move Siti, a public fundraising campaign was launched in June 2021 which raised nearly £3,000 towards the cost of transportation. Using a standard flight route between Sabah and Siti’s native Sulawesi takes over 24 hours with 3 changes of planes, therefore a chartered flight was the fastest and most comfortable way in which to transport Siti with minimal stress. This was a more costly option but it was an important consideration to ensure Siti’s welfare during the planning of her move. Financial support was also given by The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, The Joanna Toole Foundation, and Oakland Zoo.
The rescue and relocation of individual animals is not a normal part of Wild Welfare’s work, but the charity is always willing to help animals in need where it can. In 2018, the organisation rehomed four Ussuri brown bears from unsuitable conditions in Japan to a specially built new home in Yorkshire, England.
Wild Welfare’s Director Simon Marsh said “Moving a wild monkey between countries is no easy task but our determination to ensure that every wild animal living in captivity can thrive spurred us on to overcome every obstacle. We are so pleased that Siti can now live a happy, fulfilled life with other macaques in her new home as well as contribute to the conservation of her own species.”
Wild Welfare still needs to raise £5,000 to meet the cost of her translocation. A generous supporter has pledged match funds to double donations, so for every £10 pledged, £20 will go towards Siti’s journey towards a better life. To support the charity in covering the expenses of Siti’s relocation, click here.
Notes to Editors
For more information or interview requests please contact Wild Welfare on firstname.lastname@example.org
Wild Welfare is a global organisation committed to improving animal welfare for captive wild animals. By uniting the world’s leading zoos, zoo associations and animal welfare organisations, we build trusting partnerships that help provide long-term solutions to critical wild animal welfare issues.
Our vision is to end the suffering of captive wild animals around the world and ensure full and sustainable protection is given to all animals in human care. Find out more at wildwelfare.org. Registered charity in England (no.1165941).