Paignton Zoo search for Monkey's off Sulawesi
A Devon conservation charity is sending an expedition to search for a rare monkey. The team, from the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, will survey the remote Bacan Island, off the coast of Sulawesi, in Indonesia. The Trust has a project in Sulawesi called Selamatkan Yaki, or Save the Sulawesi crested black macaque. Now, experts plan to visit Bacan Island in February. The Trust's Overseas Conservation Officer Andy Bowkett, based at Paignton Zoo, will join Field Project Manager Harry Hilser, based in Sulawesi, and macaque expert Dr. Vicky Melfi, from Taronga Zoo in Australia. Vicky set up the project when she was with WWCT. Andy: "Sulawesi is about 7,500 miles – 12,000 kilometres – from the UK. It takes about 16 hours to get there. Bacan island is another five hour local flight followed by an overnight boat. We will be there for two weeks, using GPS and laser range finder technology to survey the local macaque population." The Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust has recently been awarded a number of key grants and donations, including one from Chester Zoo to cover the cost of the expedition. The Trust's Head of Field Conservation and Research, Amy Plowman, said: "Every donation means we can do that little bit more to help this charismatic species. "We are keen to survey the remote island of Bacan which might harbour a significant but unstudied population. The generous grant funding from Chester Zoo will help us achieve this."
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