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The Funkiest Monkeys: Crested Black Macaques

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In this clip from PBS’ The Funkiest Monkeys, we travel into an Indonesian island rainforest to learn about the complex relationships of the extremely intelligent and social crested black macaques

There is an unusual looking monkey called the crested black macaque that is endemic to rainforests in Indonesia, which includes the island of Sulawesi. These striking black primates, sporting punk hairstyles and copper-colored eyes, first caught the attention and won the heart of wildlife cameraman and biologist Colin Stafford-Johnson 25 years ago. But since then, their numbers have dropped by almost 90 percent, so the filmmaker returns to the island to discover why and how he could help.

Upon his arrival, Stafford-Johnson finds a very different looking Sulawesi. An island once entirely covered in forest, is now undertaken with new roads, people and buildings. He meets up with the leader of a team of local biologists — Giyarto, or Ugi for short — who has been studying the macaques for seven years. Together they will make a film to show how special these monkeys are, hoping to involve the local community in protecting them before they disappear forever.

You can check out The Funkiest Monkeys trailer here. Related watching in the archives: Japanese macaques cuddle in hot springs, and more endangered creatures.

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