Pig-tailed macaques are used by coconut farmers in Southeast Asia to harvest coconuts. We assessed the welfare of northern pig-tailed macaques Macaca leonina involved in coconut harvesting in southern Thailand. We interviewed 89 coconut farmers in three provinces focusing on quantifying basic demographics of this trade, i.e., species, where the macaques were sourced, diet, sex, and age. Independent from the interviews, we assessed the welfare of 158 working macaques through direct observations using the ‘five domains’ criteria. Based on our scoring system, the mean welfare score of 4.8 out of the maximum 12 points indicates a need for improvement. Overall, we found good agreement between the interviews data and the welfare assessments. The most important individual welfare modifications required for working macaques to obtain a good level of welfare that benefits both the farmers and macaques include: providing access to conspecifics, adding opportunities to hide from stressors, and increasing the freedom of movement. This study highlights the individual welfare concerns and necessity of legislative changes regarding working macaques and other working animals of wild origins.
Schowe, DevanSvensson, Magdalena S.
Siriwat, PenthaiJosé-Domínguez, Juan ManuelFourage, AnnaMalaivijitnond, Suchinda Nijman, Vincent
Department of Social Sciences
Year of publication: 2021Date of RADAR deposit: 2021-08-02