The little macaques wear chains around their necks. On the other end of it there is a trainer who forces the monkey to perform different trick. This is in Jakarta’s slum where a way of living is forcing these monkeys on to bikes, wear clothes, and beg for money. This is where they wear face masks and live in tiny cages or boxes constantly in chains. This is where half of all the monkeys trained to perform dies. One of the trainers, called Cecep, told a local newspaper around half the monkeys undergoing the training died. He said: ‘I’ve lost count of how many monkeys have died. It’s the risk we have to take. Treating them leniently will not make them able to do anything. Is that why some of the monkeys are believed to have their teeth ripped out? Why they, while in training get their arms tied behind the back to force them to walk on two legs? Get hung upside down? Pramudya Harzani, of Jakarta Animal Aid Network, said: ‘In the first two weeks of training, the monkeys suffer incredibly.‘They are hung and forced to do things humans do. Many monkeys don’t make it and die.’
Thankfully Jakarta shuts down these monkey shows now after orders from Governor Joko Widodo. Last week security officials raided this neighbourhood, known by some as Monkey Village, to clear the city of monkeys used in street performances. The primates are openly sold in monkey parks across Indonesia and bought by trainers for as little as £14. Kept in small cages, they are forced to undergo agonising training regimes to perform stunts at the Masked Monkey Park. Before Mr. Widodo issued the ban, a normal day in Monkey Village was filled with buskers preparing their animals for street performances. The buskers come from across Jakarta to rent the monkeys and the tools they use in their performances. These can include small bicycles and instruments, such as harmonicas and cymbals, but it almost always requires the monkey to wear a mask made from an old baby doll’s face. As an incentive, Mr. Widodo said the government would buy each monkey from its owner for Rp1 million ($90) and hand them over to a preserve at the city’s zoo. He then promised to provide training and support to those working as monkey handlers so they could find new jobs. The people who have lost their monkeys are disappointed though and don’t seem to understand why the monkeys are taken away. According to them they offer entertainment… Have they never stopped to think what the monkey thinks? Does this looks like fun?
Thank you Jakarta Animal Aid Network, the job you do is amazing. And also a thank you to Mr. Widodo. So far 90 monkeys have been saved from that sad life. And to you who reads this, please check out their work and there you can also keep updated about these little sweethearts. Thank you.
- Indonesia to ban masked monkey shows in capital (metronews.ca)
- Photographer captures the disturbing faces of Jakarta’s monkey street performers as the government pushes to outlaw the tradition (dailymail.co.uk)