My name is Yunita Siwi and I’m the head of the Selamatkan Yaki Indonesia foundation. I started working at the Selamatkan Yaki programme as a research assistant back in 2011. The Selamatkan Yaki programme is a conservation, research and education programme focussing on protecting the remaining populations of Sulawesi crested black macaques (Macaca nigra). Selamatkan Yaki was first established in 2007 by the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust based in the UK. In 2016, the Selamatkan Yaki Indonesia foundation was established and this made the programme even stronger than before.
Conservation is my passion and I realised this when I was very young, in junior high school, and I actively joined the Scouting. I live in a wonderful and amazing Island named Sulawesi in Indonesia, North Sulawesi to be precise. Sulawesi is one of the biggest islands in Indonesia. Indonesia has 17.000 islands and is one of the countries with the highest rate of endemic wildlife (fauna and flora) in the world.
Unfortunately, Indonesia's biodiversity is decreasing, also in North Sulawesi where we experience declining species populations due to habitat loss. To improve people’s knowledge of M. nigra (locally called yaki), we have been organising awareness campaigns throughout North Sulawesi since 2013 to promote pro-conservation behaviour, focusing on the yaki. Our approach is to connect yaki conservation with community leaders, and educational, religious and cultural institutions.
During our Yaki Pride Campaigns we focus on all layers of the community. In parallel with our education and awareness work, we also have another project focusing on Protected Area Management. This Protected Area management project aims to improve the protection of the Tangkoko Nature Reserve, which is considered to be one of the last remaining strongholds for the macaques, next to other protected areas across the native range of M. nigra in North Sulawesi. This can only be achieved by reducing the current threats, mainly hunting and habitat loss.