Report on the Causes of Morbidity and Mortality in the Sulawesi Macaque (Macaca nigra) European Endangered Species Programme from 2005–2017
2018 Joint EAZWV/AAZV/Leibniz-IZW Conference
Steve Unwin1, BSc, BVSc, DECZM; Steffani Gardner2, BVM&S; Kate Brice1; Veronica Cowl1, PhD; Holly Farmer3, PhD
1Chester Zoo, Upton-by-Chester, UK; 2Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Easter Bush Campus, Midlothian, UK; 3Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, Paignton Zoo, Paignton, UK


Few papers have been published on pathogens or other causes of mortality or morbidity in the Sulawesi macaque Macaca nigra or its close relatives. Studies often only indicate presence and not the pathogenicity of infectious agents.1-3 Most data on likelihood and consequence of infection is derived from other primate species. A morbidity and mortality survey was undertaken for the Sulawesi macaque European Endangered Species Programme (EEP).

Information was requested via the EEP from the 30 collections currently holding or previously holding Sulawesi macaques between 2005 and 2017.

From the initial number of collections contacted, 30% (n=10) were compliant to our mortality request with a total of 69 individual cases; and 16.7% (n=5) were compliant to our morbidity request with a total of 250 clinical cases.

Data analysis was challenging due to data gaps in the original reports. For example, pathology reports commonly lacked age at death, infectious causes of mortality, suspected or confirmed causes of abortion.

The main causes of morbidity are from diarrhea (36.45%), trauma (32.24%) and respiratory disease (16.82%). There were 11 different pathogens identified on culture and sensitivity from the 250 individual clinical reports.

An overview on the causes of mortality are shown in the graph below. Note that infectious disease plays a small role in death. The three main non-infectious causes of mortality were neonatal death (31%), trauma (12%) and diabetes mellitus (12%). There were 20 different pathogens isolated from the 69 individual cases.


We call for a renewed commitment by collections to share disease data with EEPs, so population level disease risk management can improve.


The authors would like to thank all EEP respondents.

Literature Cited

1.  Jones-Engel L, Engel GA, Schillaci MA, Kyes K, Froehlich J, Paputungan U, Kyes RC. Prevalence of enteric parasites in pet macaques in Sulawesi, Indonesia. American Journal of Primatology. 2004;62:71–82.

2.  Yamano K, Kouguchi H, Uraguchi K, Mukai T, Shibata C, Yamamoto H, Takaesu N, Ito M, Makino Y, Takiguchi M, Yagi K. First detection of Echinococcus multilocularis infection in two species of nonhuman primates raised in a zoo: a fatal case in Cercopithecus diana and a strongly suspected case of spontaneous recovery in Macaca nigra. Parasitology International. 2014;63:621–626.

3.  Tuda J, Feng M, Imadad M, Kobayashid S, Cheng X, Tachiban H. Identification of Entamoeba polecki with unique 18S rRNA gene sequences from Celebes crested macaques and pigs in Tangkoko Nature Reserve, North Sulawesi, Indonesia. Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology. 2016;63:572–577.


Speaker Information
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Steffani Gardner, BVM&S
Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies
Easter Bush Campus
Midlothian, UK

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