A field survey of 25 sites in Sulawesi Utara (north Sulawesi) in 1987 and 1988 found macaques in 16 of these sites. The most viable population of Macaca nigra was found in the Tangkoko reserve at an estimated density of 76.2 monkeys/km 2 , which is less than one‐third the abundance reported in the late 1970s by the MacKinnons. The adjacent reserves of Batuangus and Duasudara had only 22 monkeys/km 2 , yielding a population estimate for these three contiguous reserves of only 3,655 individuals. Maccaca nigrescens were found in the central and western portions of Dumoga‐Bone National Park in densities of 15.5 and 16.4 monkeys/km 2 , significantly below the density of 27/km 2 reported by the MacKinnons. The more peripheral areas of Dumoga‐Bone had only 8.15 monkeys/km 2 , yielding a population estimate of M. nigrescens in Dumoga‐Bone of less than 34,000. Our total population estimate for M. nigra and M. nigrescens combined is less than 50,000 individuals, which is considerably below that reported in recent litreture. M. hecki were observed in only two locations, Tangale and Panua Reserves, at low densities of 3.3 to 5.2 monkeys/km 2 , suggesting its range and abundance have declined since the observations of Groves (pp. 84–124 in THE MACAQUES: STUDIES IN ECOLOGY, BEHAVIOR AND EVOLUTION. D. G. Lindburg, ed. New York, Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1980). Several factors have contributed to population decline in these species: habitat shrinkage, increasing human population pressure, and drought conditions. Group sizes were significantly smaller in our study than in previous ones, and we found a shortage of juveniles and infants.