National Geographic : 2017 Mar
a fight to Survive 97 fertile females (those with the biggest, reddest bottoms). “Still,” Engelhardt said, “being a beta [number two] might be ideal. You don’t have to be the strongest, and you still get plenty of action.” The researchers are teasing out fine details of the yaki’s private life. “One exciting discovery is that males with certain personality traits—being self-confident and part of a big, diverse social net- work—are more likely to reach a high rank and thus sire more offspring,” Engelhardt said. “So it’s not your social status that affects your personali- ty, but your personality affects your social status.” The principle is true for humans too, with person- ality influencing social “rank” and sexual oppor- tunities. But exactly which traits bring benefits “might be very specific,” she said. “ What works for male macaques might not work for men.” YaKi have JuSt one natural predator, the re- ticulated python, but they have many enemies. Land clearers are pushing the monkeys around. Roadbuilders are hemming them in. And outlaw trappers have them running for their lives. “That all used to be primary forest,” Engel- hardt said, nodding toward the sloping land along the main road out of Tangkoko. “First the rangers started putting in gardens, and then vil- lagers followed suit. And up there,” she pointed to the dual peaks of Mount Duasaudara, “you can see forest at the top, but the rest is [coconut] plantations now. We did surveys up there: No monkeys. Nothing.” We were driving to the Tasikoki Wildlife Res- cue Centre, south of Bitung, to meet with Harry Hilser, program manager for the nonprofit Se- lamatkan Yaki—which works to save Sulawesi’s crested black macaques—and the rescue cen- ter’s manager, Simon Purser, a soft-spoken Brit who seems to carry the weight of the world on his slim frame. The center houses orphaned and injured wildlife, plus animals confiscated from smugglers and buyers of illegal “pets.” Purser, 0mi 100 0km 100 SULAWESI (CELEBES) Halmahera Sula Islands Obi Bacan Ceram Buru Misool Buton Muna Morotai Banggai Islands Wawonii Kabaena Gulf of Tomini Molucca Sea MakassarStrait Gulf of Tolo Ceram Sea Tangkoko-Batuangus- Duasaudara Nature Reserve Watampone Parepare Gorontalo Palu Manado Palopo Makassar Kendari Bitung Tompasobaru Kumersot Kotamobagu Rantemario 11,411 ft 3,478 m Mina hasa Peninsula Threatened Macaques Crested black macaques, one of seven macaque species on Sulawesi, are considered critically endangered. Taken as pets, hunted for their meat, and faced with the illegal logging of tropical forest for agriculture—which is fragmenting their habitat—the monkeys are suffering serious decline. 0mi 500 0km 500 INDONESIA AUSTRALIA INDIAN OCEAN PACIFIC OCEAN AREA ENLARGED Jakarta PAPUA NEW GUINEA MALAYSIA TIMOR-LESTE South China Sea EQUATOR LAUREN C. TIERNEY, NGM STAFF. SOURCES: ANTJE ENGELHARDT, MACACA NIGRA PROJECT; IUCN Native range Crested black macaques are found in the northeastern tip of Sulawesi, where most may now be limited to a small reserve. Nuisance species Introduced to Bacan in the 1800s, macaques are doing better there but are disrupting the island’s natural order.