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Loon Macaques Habitat: Bohol's newest nature destination
« on: September 09, 2010, 12:43:40 AM »
Monkey business in Loon

     See no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil as gentle monkeys make you want to cuddle them in  your arms in this relatively quiet barangay that has been transformed into Bohol’s newest tourism hub.

     Cantomucad is one of the barangays of Loon that made it the ready-to-wear capital of Bohol. Its RTWs, as well as those produced in adjacent Pondol, lorded it over in retail stores in many business centers in the Visayas and Mindanao. Despite the advent of the “ukay-ukay”, the local garments manufacturing has survived.

     Meanwhile, a species of crab-eating monkeys inhabiting the barangay’s pristine mangrove forest may as yet trigger the business acumen of the local residents as the primates have become a tourist attraction and their habitat a showcase for environmental conservation. This early, some enterprising residents have produced macaque-inspired t-shirts for their “monkey-business”.

     According to Wikipedia, macaques belong to the subfamily Cercopithecinae. Although native to Asia and Northern Africa, thousands of them are housed in research facilities, zoos, wildlife or amusement parks, and are kept as pets in private homes throughout the world, making them the most widely distributed genus of nonhuman primates.

     Considered as true monkeys, these animals have a very intricate social structure and hierarchy. If a macaque that is lower level in the social chain has eaten berries and there are none left for a higher level macaque, the one higher in status can, within this social organization, remove the berries from the other monkey's mouth.

     Macaques, especially Macaca mulatta and Macaca fascicularis, are commonly used in research, most recently in AIDS research. Their coloration includes gray, brown or black fur. They tend to be heavily built and medium to large in stature. Males and females may differ in weight, body size and canine (tooth) size. Based on internet research, the species found in Cantomucad is most likely Macaca fascicularis philippinensis.

     The Loon Macaques tourist destination has a receiving area and a boardwalk of about 100 meters at the end of which are found two feeding platforms. Giving food to the animals is strictly the task of the caretakers and is done at certain times of the day. When the monkeys are nowhere found, they are most likely engaged in things they normally do, like looking for crabs, clams and mudskippers (“tambasakan”); clinging and sleeping on tree branches; or just playing around with family members.      

     Open to tourists from 8 AM to 5 PM, the facility also features a well-protected mangrovetum or mangrove garden the species of which have been identified by the Bohol Environment and Management Office. (RPM)

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