The Funkiest Monkeys

Full Episode

There is an unusual looking monkey called the crested black macaque that is endemic to rainforests in Indonesia, which includes the island of Sulawesi. These striking black primates, sporting punk hairstyles and copper-colored eyes, first caught the attention and won the heart of wildlife cameraman and biologist Colin Stafford-Johnson 25 years ago. But since then, their numbers have dropped by almost 90 percent, so the filmmaker returns to the island to discover why and how he could help.

Upon his arrival, Stafford-Johnson finds a very different looking Sulawesi. An island once entirely covered in forest, is now undertaken with new roads, people and buildings. He meets up with the leader of a team of local biologists — Giyarto, or Ugi for short — who has been studying the macaques for seven years. Together they will make a film to show how special these monkeys are, hoping to involve the local community in protecting them before they disappear forever. (Video streaming restricted to U.S. and Territories.)

The Funkiest Monkeys premiered January 29, 2014 on PBS.

The Funkiest Monkeys In Pictures

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Colin Stafford-Johnson being groomedWildlife cameraman & biologist Colin Stafford-Johnson being groomed. Photo credit: ©Giyarto
Peanut“Peanut,” Stafford-Johnson’s “favorite” Crested Black Macaque. Photo credit: ©Giyarto
Colin Stafford-Johnson filming Crested Black MacaquesColin Stafford-Johnson filming Crested Black Macaques. Photo credit: ©Giyarto
Juvenile being groomedJuvenile being groomed. Photo credit: ©Giyarto
Male Crested Black MacaqueMale Crested Black Macaque. Photo credit: ©Giyarto
Male Crested Black MacaqueMale Crested Black Macaque. Photo credit: ©Giyarto
Tarzan in a treeTarzan in a tree ©Dave Mothershow
TarzanTarzan ©Dave Mothershow
Troop grooming on a logTroop grooming on a log © Dave Mothershow