For Immediate Release:
June 30, 2023
Amanda Hays 202-483-7382
Norfolk, Va. – Please see the following statement from PETA primate scientist Dr. Lisa-Jones Engel regarding a paper by Dr. Matthew Luskin et al. from the University of Queensland’s School of the Environment, which claims that monkey populations in Southeast Asia are booming:
Papers like this play into sensationalism and dangerously undermine scientific integrity. The research is flawed—and largely funded by universities in China, where long-tailed macaques are imported from Southeast Asia and used extensively in laboratory experimentation. The authors’ population projections are based on pockets of long-tailed and pig-tailed macaque populations found next to human settlements. The densities in these areas can’t be extrapolated to the entire forest. The paper is rife with incorrect statements. These two species can’t be lumped together, because they have different ecologies, behaviors and distribution. Macaques in Asia are not reservoirs for monkeypox, and these species cannot reproduce rapidly—they have at most one offspring a year. Nor do the authors mention that nearly a year before this paper was published, the International Union for Conservation of Nature assessed populations of long-tailed and pig-tailed macaques and reclassified them as endangered based on assessments by scientists with expertise in macaque ecology and distribution. This present publication serves only to undermine science. It should be retracted immediately, or the consequences for these very fragile populations of monkeys could be devastating.