New Studies Show Staggering Drop in Macaque Populations; PETA Pushes Government to Act 

For Immediate Release:
June 3, 2024

Brandi Pharris 202-483-7382


Two new scientific studies confirm what PETA has been saying: Populations of long-tailed macaques, who are imported to U.S. laboratories by the thousands every year, are being decimated throughout Asia—and demand by experimenters is a leading contributor to the decline.

PETA is urging the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to stop dragging its feet and take action on the group’s two formal petitions for rulemaking with the agency (here and here) to add long-tailed and southern pig-tailed macaques to the list of species protected by the Endangered Species Act. The agency has yet to respond to the petitions, which were filed last year by PETA, prominent primate scientists including Jane Goodall and Birutė Galdikas, and more than 30 wildlife and scientific organizations from around the world.

The number of long-tailed macaques has declined by a whopping 80% over the past 35 years, according to a just-released article authored by dozens of leading primate experts from around the globe featured in Science Advances.

More than 500,000long-tailed macaques were imported into the U.S. for experimentation during that same period. In Cambodia, there has been a 97.5% decline in long-tailed macaque populations, with only an estimated 75,000 remaining. Less than 15 years ago, there were an estimated 3 million. The U.S. imported nearly 20,000 long-tailed macaques from Cambodia in 2022 alone.

Populations of long-tailed macaques, like this mother and infant, have declined worldwide, in part because they’re captured to be sold to laboratories. 
Photo by Ignacio Yufera.

“No species can sustain the constant pressure of capture in the wild to fill labs, habitat destruction, and killing—not even long-tailed macaques, who historically numbered in the millions,” says PETA primate scientist Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel. “It’s shameful that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is 300 days overdue on its duty to respond to PETA’s petition to add these disappearing monkeys to the Endangered Species Act.” 

In a second publication, primate scientists presented an analysis showing that removing adult female long-tailed macaques from their native habitat leads to plummeting populations that are difficult, if not impossible, to recover.

Long-tailed macaques are classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and experts have pointed to the capture of hundreds of thousands of macaques for use in the experimentation industry as a driving force in the population’s decline.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit or follow the group on X, Facebook, or Instagram.

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