Long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis)

Long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) are native to much of Southeast Asia and have been noted as one of the most geographically wide-spread and abundant non-human primate species in the world. They have been deliberately introduced to a variety of small tropical islands, commonly for biomedical research.

Long-tailed macaques are a pest in many introduced areas and the species is included on the Global Invasive Species Database list of 100 of the "World's Worst" invaders. In Mauritius, the introduced population has contributed to the extinction of one parrot and one owl species, and contributed to the decline of many endangered bird species including pigeons, parrots, birds of paradise and frogmouths. Small reptiles and large mammals have also been affected. Modelling indicates that the Tasmanian climate is unsuitable for this species, however should a population establish, competition with local possum species could be expected.

The species has a significant impact on agriculture and consumes a wide variety of crops. Macaques are frequently killed as agricultural pests and some farmers have stopped planting crops due to damage caused. Long-tailed macaques are also noted for being a nuisance to humans. They may grab or take human possessions, threaten people by lunging, biting, following or chasing, and raid houses, bins and cars. Mobbing behaviour is observed occasionally.

Wild populations of long-tailed macaques are vulnerable to a variety of diseases including herpes B virus, canine distemper virus and hepatitis E. Some of these diseases can be fatal to humans.

The species is currently listed as a species of 'Vulnerable' under the IUCN Red List and is classed as a 'serious' threat under the Vertebrate Pest Committee's list of exotic animals (Vertebrate Pest Committee, 2007). In Tasmania, long-tailed macaques are 'controlled animals' under the Tasmanian Nature Conservation Act 2002.

Following the initial risk assessment, the Department considers permitting the importation of animals assessed as ‘serious risk’ into the State as long as appropriate mitigation measures, enforced through a wildlife exhibition licence, can be identified and applied. 

Mitigation options to reduce the risk associated with importing Long-tailed macaques include: 

  1. Limiting importation to registered wildlife parks or zoos to ensure the holding facility meets the stringent keeping standards​ Tasmania applies to all institutions.

  2. Requiring any wildlife park or zoo to submit a Long-tailed macaques​ species management plan (including enclosure details) prior to import.

  3. The wildlife exhibition facility can clearly demonstrate they have proficient keepers for that particular species.

Assessment Documentation

  Long-tailed Macaque (Macaca fascicularis)   (1Mb)