Date Published: March 2011
Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata) are short-tailed Old World monkeys found in Japan. They are highly adaptable and can occupy suitable habitat at a variety of altitudes, with sites ranging from sea level to 3,180m above sea level. There is no evidence of Japanese macaques establishing outside their native range, although a troop of 150 macaques was transferred to Texas for research purposes in 1972, where they exist in semi free-ranging conditions, but are provisioned with food daily.
Japanese macaques are a major agricultural pest in Japan, and annually cause the equivalent of $AU19.5million damage to crops and infrastructure. Approximately 10,000 Japanese macaques are destroyed each year to protect crops. They have few natural predators and are capable of spreading diseases such as canine distemper virus, hepatitis E and herpes B virus.
Establishment of Japanese macaques in Tasmania could impact primary industries and native species, although modelling suggests that the Tasmanian climate is unsuitable. The Japanese macaque is currently listed as a species of 'least concern' under the IUCN Red List and Japanese macaques are 'controlled animals' under the Tasmanian Nature Conservation Act 2002.
This risk assessment concludes that Japanese macaques are a serious threat to Tasmania and proposes that imports be restricted to those license holders approved for keeping serious threat species.
Japanese Macaque (Macaca fuscata) (1Mb)