Creepy, disturbing and worrying – the masked monkeys of Indonesia were once part and parcel of the traditional Indonesian street performance, despite the obvious cruel abuse of animal rights.Photographer Ed Wray has endured the shocking reality of seeing monkey’s cruelly leashed on painful chains, leaping through hoops and riding on trikes all whilst wearing masks to entertain Western tourists.
When I first saw a monkey with a rubber baby doll’s head stuck over its head as a mask, it immediately struck me as horrifying and beyond weird.
Stolen from their natural habit in the jungle, countless macaque monkeys were dressed up and paraded amongst Indonesia’s poverty stricken streets of South Cipinang Besar – all in the vain hope of attracting the almighty tourist dollar.
Occasionally both monkey and handler were successful, propagating the abuse of the animal and validating its owners line of work.
Thankfully the Indonesian government has stepped in to ban the ongoing abuse of macaques. All roadside monkey performances are now outlawed. In the capital Jakarta, the government is buying back all monkeys used as street buskers for around $90, sheltering them in the 2.5-acre preserve at Jakarta’s Ragunan Zoo.
As for the handlers themselves, they won’t face prosecution. Instead they have been provided with vocational training to help find new jobs and a new form of income.
It’s a lesson that when it comes to abusing animals in the form of “entertainment”, even the most impoverished nations know where to draw the line.
Via Ed Wray