Conservationists mount expedition

Published: 8 February 2013

Conservationists mount expedition

A team from the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust is surveying the remote Bacan Island, off the coast of Sulawesi, in Indonesia, for a rare monkey.

The Trust has a project in Sulawesi called Selamatkan Yaki, or Save the Sulawesi crested black macaque.

The Trust’s Overseas Conservation Officer Andy Bowkett, based at Paignton Zoo, will join Field Project Manager Harry Hilser, based in Sulawesi, and macaque expert Dr. Vicky Melfi, from Taronga Zoo in Australia. Vicky set up the project when she was with WWCT.

Andy: “Sulawesi is about 7,500 miles – 12,000 kilometres – from the UK. It takes about 16 hours to get there. Bacan island is another five hour local flight followed by an overnight boat. We will be there for two weeks, using GPS and laser range finder technology to survey the local macaque population.”

The Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust has recently been awarded a number of key grants and donations, including one from Chester Zoo to cover the cost of the expedition.

The Trust’s Head of Field Conservation and Research, Amy Plowman, said: “Every donation means we can do that little bit more to help this charismatic species.

“We are keen to survey the remote island of Bacan which might harbour a significant but unstudied population. The generous grant funding from Chester Zoo will help us achieve this."

Paignton Zoo Environmental Park is a registered charity. For more information go to or ring 0844 474 2222.

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