Crab-eating Macaque - Relationship With Humans

Relationship With Humans

Long-tailed macaques extensively overlap with humans across their range in Southeast Asia. Consequently, people and long-tailed macaques live together in many locations. Some of these areas are associated with religious sites and local customs, such as the temples of Bali in Indonesia, Thailand, and Cambodia, while other areas are characterized by conflict as a result of habitat loss and competition over food and space. Humans and long-tailed macaques have shared environments since prehistoric times, and tend to both frequent forest and river edge habitats.

M. fascicularis is also used extensively in medical experiments, in particular those connected with neuroscience and disease. Due to their close physiology, they can share infections with humans. Some cases of concern have been an isolated event of Ebola-Reston virus found in a captive-bred population shipped to the US from the Philippines, which was later found to be a strain of Ebola that has no known pathological consequences in humans, unlike the African strains. Furthermore, they are a known carrier of monkey B virus (Herpesvirus simiae), a virus which has produced disease in some lab workers working mainly with rhesus macaques (M. mulatta). Nafovanny, the largest facility for the captive breeding of nonhuman primates in the world, houses 30,000 macaques. The crab-eating macaque is one of the types of monkeys that have been used as space test flight animals. It has been discovered recently that Plasmodium knowlesi, which causes malaria in M. fascicularis, can also infect humans. A few cases have been documented in human, but for how long humans have been getting infections of this malarial strain is unknown. It is, therefore, not possible to assess if this is a newly emerging health threat, or if just newly discovered due to improved malarial detection techniques. Given the long history of humans and macaques living together in SE Asia, it is likely the latter.

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