Image by santanu misra

Macaque Coalition
Summer Workshop 
29th July 2021

29th July 2021


Image by Vance Berisford
In July 2021, we held the first Asia for Animals Macaque Coalition workshop event. We are grateful to all of those who participated for making the event a real success! 

Initiated in 2020, the Asia for Animals Macaque Coalition aims to collate and share information on the many welfare issues faced by macaques, to share solutions and strategies for reducing their suffering, and to promote peaceful, respectful coexistence.    

This workshop event focused on four main themes:

  • Urban macaque conflict mitigation strategies

  • Successful public awareness campaigns

  • Standards in rescue centres

  • Field research and macaque welfare 

Below, please find summaries and outcomes of each workshop, and links to recordings of the relevant talks. Please visit our YouTube channel to view recordings of the introduction, summary and Q&A session! 



Each of four speakers gave a presentation on their subject, followed by four workshop sessions leading on from those presentations. The workshops aimed to develop one or more specific outcomes.  

Workshop:Urban macaque conflict mitigation strategies

Led by Dr Sharmini Julita Paramasivam (Animal Neighbours Project; University of Surrey)


Major conclusions: 


  • People are compelled to feed wildlife and at the same time, tend to vilify macaques for behaviours that are learned and encouraged by feeding. The necessary interventions are based on human behaviour change. Legislation can help, but is not the whole solution.  

  • The messaging provided by NGOs is important - but such messaging must be tested for effectiveness with consideration of both locals and tourists, and the varying reasons that they feed. In order to do this, local communities should be consulted via workshops and the engagement of social scientists. 

  • Much urban macaque conflict could be avoided with the implementation of good planning, for example forest bridges, foot bridges, etc. NGOs should work with all of the necessary authorities and departments in order to to achieve this.

  • Although local considerations are key, there are some universals. In many urban areas, people are unsure who to turn to if they are experiencing conflict with macaques or other wildlife. Local authorities can be apathetic and both they and NGOs are often under-resourced. 

  • Macaques are often vilified or trivialized in global media, including misinformation about behavior, disease transmission, and abundance.

  • AfA Macaque Coalition & events like this are valuable and could be the perfect mechanism to produce and share strategies and materials that cover universal issues.




  1. Collaborate to produce stakeholder engagement strategies to get buy-in from local urban government authorities covering Planning and Enforcement. Use this forum to share successes.

  2. Collaborate to develop an input-output model of awareness-raising strategy: Obtaining input from local groups and social scientists; producing output that covers the broadest, most universal and most effective messaging; testing and analyzing in order to get it right; encompassing real world and social media messaging to change macaque perceptions and reduce misinformation

Luscious Palm Leaves

Workshop: Public awareness for macaque welfare

Led by Anabarasi Boopal (Animal Concerns Research & Education Society)  


Major conclusions: 


  • How macaques are presented (whether by us, the media, by social media “influencers”, or elsewhere), in words or pictures, matters. Imagery of poor welfare situations, contact with humans “normalises” these situations.  Headlines describing “aggressive macaques” tell a different story than those highlighting  “defensive macaques”.  

  • We should strive to promote coexistence rather than harmony because there can be unintended effects of aiming for harmony - such as increases in feeding and other interactions. 

  • Differing cultural traditions present unique challenges. Constant engagement with communities, policy makers and others (e.g. housing authorities, indigenous people) is vital. 

  • We should focus on communicating positives about macaques and the richness of their own lives, and also be public about how they benefit people (e.g. pigtailed macaques as rodent control).

  • Collaboration is vital!




  1. Develop a sharable educational package highlighting emotional and cognitive capacities of macaques 

  2. Create a shared drive for sharable resources from all organizations 

Anbarasi Boopal.jpg
Luscious Palm Leaves

Workshop: Field research and macaque welfare

Led by Dr. Malene Friis Hansen (The Long-Tailed Macaque Project; University of Copenhagen)


Major conclusions: 


  • There were a variety of perspectives amongst attendees about the use of sterilisation as a population control measure.  Methodologies and results and methodologies should be compared  to understand anything universally agreeable arising across them all. Sterilisation projects should be more frequently followed up to study whether there are any short or long-term welfare implications (including genetic or behavioural implications).

  • NGOs should consult with social scientists to develop approaches that blend the qualitative with the quantitative, so that it is amenable to a variety of stakeholders / policy makers.  Trial and analysis methods should be applied to the efficacy of HMI strategies.

  • Pre- and post-release monitoring is crucial for reintroductions. We need to share methodology here as well and any successes and failures to learn from each other.

  • Collaboration via a forum like this is key to share our findings and discover common ground across all aspects of macaque solutions, so as to bolster the existing body of knowledge, both quantitative and qualitative.




  1. Establish subgroups on individual issues (e.g. contraception; post-release monitoring)

  2. Agree upon and publish terms and definitions

Malene Friis Hansen.jpg
Luscious Palm Leaves

Workshop: Standards in rescue centers - what to do when resources are scarce?

Led by Harold Browning (Animals Asia Foundation)


Major conclusions: 


  • Capacity is inevitably reached very quickly in any rescue center. This was discussed, but no solutions were reached. 

  • Design is incredibly important to welfare in rescue centres, integrations, etc

  • Novel enrichment can enhance welfare.

  • Interventions during integrations have the potential to do more harm than good in the long-term. Published observations on integrations needed - when and how to intervene.

  • Lots of information needed on release protocols that are practical and realistic in cases where facilities are overfull and options are few.  

  • The benefits and drawbacks of vasectomy vs castration for population control in captive setting need further discussion and exploration.  

  • There is a universal lack of primate-experienced veterinarians.




  1. Provide a repository for husbandry, disease and release protocols via website

  2. Explore the possibility of establishing an Asian PASA-type network via the AfA Macaque Coalition