You know you’re dying to find out…what is the strangest and most weird monkey there is? The Nature series on PBS is bringing you a show dedicated to telling you all about them.

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Photo Credit: PBS

THIRTEEN’s Nature Calls Attention to the Plight of The Funkiest Monkeys Airing Wednesday, January 29, 2014 on PBS

What is the weirdest monkey ever?

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.

Watch ‘The Funkiest Monkey’ Online

Nature observes the troop of endangered crested black macaques and explores what is causing their decline when The Funkiest Monkeys airs Wednesday, January 29 at 8 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings). After the broadcast, the episode will be available for online streaming at pbs.org/nature.

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About Crested Black Macaques

It is in Tankgkoko of North Sulawesi that biologists (led by Ugi) have been watching 70 specific black macaque monkeys. Traits the monkey’s display are intelligence and great capacity to socialize with their families. The alpha monkey is referred to by the name of “Tarzan.”

Tarzan has exclusive access to all the females coming into season, but his position is never secure. Male macaques migrate between troops and he must constantly be on the alert for males looking to usurp his position. The rules for female macaques, however, are different. Females form the stable core of a troop, each one inheriting her position from her mother, including the alpha female, and none of them ever leaves the group.

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Like cats, these monkeys love to stay clean and will even clean it each other.

The monkeys often head to the beach to indulge in their most important social activity: grooming. “They spend so many hours grooming each other every day, it just goes to show how important it is,” Stafford-Johnson notes, “not just for the practical job of removing all the little ticks and mites that live in their fur. An equally important role is to just affirm family bonds and friendships.”

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Yet, life isn’t all easy for them. They have predators and natural disasters that can affect them. They are also endangered and hunted.

But at night, the only safe sleeping location for the macaques is high up in the trees where their two deadliest predators, pythons and people, can’t reach them. Monsoon season is the most dangerous time for them because some local fishermen, unable to make a living due to rough seas, turn to hunting monkeys. Yet, year-round, markets sell wild meats like squirrels, rats, snakes and the particularly sought-after, expensive macaques. Though they are critically endangered and officially protected, the law is rarely enforced and the macaques remain at risk.

‘The Funkiest Monkey’ Premiere Date and Time

Nature is a production of THIRTEEN in association with WNET for PBS. For Nature, Fred Kaufman is executive producer. The Funkiest Monkeys is a co-production of THIRTEEN Productions LLC and BBC in association with WNET.

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