Indonesia street show monkey – Topeng Monyet
The early childhood of a future masked monkey begins in a cage, in one of the many animal markets of Jakarta. Some of the monkey babies are bread, some of them are taken from the wild, after killing the parents. They are sold as pets or, in many cases, bought by monkey trainers for street shows.
Usually in this stage the monkey's canines are cut off using wire clippers, to prevent them from biting.
A monkey is handled in one of Jakarta's animal markets.
Acil is one of the many successful little dancing monkeys of the streets of Jakarta. And by successful I mean alive. He is now 2 years old and most probably he will live to grow old. He has managed surviving through the hardest period of the life of a Topeng Monyet (masked monkey), and that is the harsh violenttraining that begins at the tender age of 1-2 months and ends at around 1 year.
The first thing that a dancing monkey learns is how to stand. Here, Acil's trainer explains the learning method: the monkey is hang from the neck chain in a position in which he can barely touch the ground, and left like that for days. The only times when the monkey is released from this position is when he eats. Most of the monkeys die in this phase of the training because of exhaustion and stress.
Once the monkey has learned to stand and do a few tricks, every day, from morning until evening, it starts working on the street.
One of the basic tricks is riding a small wooden horse.
More complicated tricks involve riding small toy motorbikes and even simulating accidents. Here this monkey lays on the ground after simulating a motorcycle crush.
In some cases the monkeys are dressed as girls, playing instruments or just walking around in a fashionable manner.
Working in the middle of the traffic in Jakarta is very stressful for the monkeys as they easily get scared by the passing by motorbikes and cars.
At the end of the day, it's all about money and surviving. In a bad day a monkey can make as little as5USD, in a good day - more than 20USD.
When not working, the monkeys live in extremely small wooden cages, which they will never outgrow, as Topeng Monyet, because of the cut teeth, can't eat a wide range of foods and never grow to the normal size of a monkey.
Some of the luckier monkeys were taken off the streets by the members of "Jakarta Animal Aid", an NGO actively militating for the rights of animals in Indonesia, and taken to the Cikananga Wildlife Center, in Central Java, where they received treatment and learned to live as monkeys probably for the first time in their life.
In 2013 the authorities of Jakarta began confiscating the monkeys. The decision finally came after four years of lobby from the local NGOs. Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo said he was acting to save the monkeys and because they were a health risk. The confiscated monkeys will be taken into quarrantine and sheltered in Jakarta's Zoo.
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