Population densities of Sulawesi crested black macaques (Macaca nigra) on Bacan and Sulawesi, Indonesia: Effects of habitat disturbance and hunting



Population surveys of Sulawesi crested black macaques (Macaca nigra) were conducted on the Indonesian islands of Sulawesi and Bacan in 1992–1994 to assess the status of natural populations and determine habitat and anthropogenic factors affecting their population densities. We surveyed five sites for primates, including undisturbed and disturbed habitats. Data were collected on habitat structure and composition at two undisturbed and one disturbed forest site in which the primates were surveyed. The highest density of macaques was found in primary forest at Gunung Sibela Nature Reserve on Bacan (170.3 individuals/km2). Population density in logged forest on Bacan was high but significantly less than primary forest (133.4 individuals/km2). The high density of crested black macaques in primary forest on Bacan is best explained by the high carrying capacity found in primary forest. The lower food quantity and quality of food resources found in logged forest correlated with lower primate densities compared to primary forest. However, the large population of macaques in logged forest demonstrates the conservation value of such forest. Densities on Sulawesi at Tangkoko-Batuangas-DuaSudara Nature Reserve (TBDS) showed a continuing decline since earlier surveys. Primate densities were highest near the protected center of Tangkoko Reserve (66.7 individuals/km2). The peripheral areas of Batuangas and DuaSudara, even though adjacent and continuous, showed lower population densities of 46.4 and 23.5 individuals/km2, respectively. The best explanation for the continued decline of Macaca nigra populations at TBDS is hunting. Unless conservation measures are implemented immediately, M. nigra on Sulawesi risks extinction in the near future. Am. J. Primatol. 44:89–106, 1998. © 1998 Wiley-Liss, Inc.