Welcome to East Jakarta where a slum exists by the name of South Cipinang Besar. East Jakarta is a part of Indonesia and is one of the most populous of the five cities within Jakarta. What makes this slum different than any other slum? Topeng monyet. Topeng monyet, or “masked monkeys” showed up in the late 1980s. Masked monkey beggars join the crowd of poor human beings that suffer and beg for money in this slum of decay.
These monkeys travel in order to entertain the poor kids of these slums. Now, as these monkeys have gained popularity they are being used for getting money from tourists. The practices of getting these monkeys to perform tricks and to have plastic doll masks shoved on their heads is as inhumane as you could imagine. Many of the monkeys don’t even make it through the vigorous training; often times dying from injuries, exhaustion and stress. For some of the people living here, the masked monkey is their last chance for survival in hopeless poverty.
While they are bizarre to look at, these monkeys tell a larger story, the story of poverty and its consequences on the animal population
The practice of keeping monkeys as street performers has many sides and there are high human stakes involved as well.
There is no clear way to end it. Perhaps, refusing to throw your coins at these monkeys is a start.
After a hard days work, they return to crammed and filthy cages.
Some are bread in captivity or stolen from their mothers in the wild by poachers.
The inhumane treatment and cruelty inflicted on the monkeys is enough to have caught the attention of the animal welfare group Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN), which has begun campaigning to put an end to the practice.
The government has recently outlawed this barbaric tradition, so at least the treatment of these monkeys have stopped…. for now. Don’t forget to give the performing monkeys a voice and share it with your friends on Facebook! (h/t mysteriousuniverse) (Photo credits: unknown)