The bizarre entertainment known as topeng monyet (literally masked monkey, in reference to the disturbing doll head masks they are often forced to wear) was banned in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta in 2013, but still remains popular in other parts of the country. Forced to wear chains around their necks at all times and tortured into learning tricks to amuse young children for tips, animal rights activists argue that topeng monyet is incredibly cruel to the monkeys involved and, as this video demonstrates, represents a danger to both the primates and others.
The above video, which has been going viral on Indonesian social media the last few days, shows a topeng monyet wearing a mask and driving a small toy motorcycle. The monkey manages to gain enough momentum driving down the small alley that when he hits a young boy towards the end of his run, enough to cause his bike and the boy to go flying.
The boy seems to land hard on his face but gets up moments later, quickly fixing a small potted plant he knocked over during his fall. The monkey, at the end of his rope (or chain, rather), looks back seemingly with concern for the boy – or possibly his bike. He then picks up his mask/helmet from the ground before the video ends.
It’s not clear from the video or the accompanying caption when or where the incident took place, though the video appears to have only been uploaded for the first time recently.
Many Indonesians see topeng monyet as harmless fun. But behind the masks, the monkeys suffer terrible abuse at the hands of their owners, who use incredibly inhumane training methods to teach them their tricks.
Fortunately, thanks in large part to a five-year campaign spearheaded by the Jakarta Animal Aid Foundation (JAAN), then Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo banned the practice in the capital back in 2013. The government rescued dozens of these monkeys and rehabilitated them so that they could eventually be returned to the wild.
Thanks to JAAN ‘s efforts, 62 former topeng monyet monkeys were released back into the wild in 2015.
Since then, JAAN’s efforts have also led to bans on topeng monyet in Bandung, Tasikmalaya and Cirebon. But unfortunately the practice continues in other parts of the country such as Surabaya.
After the ban on dancing monkeys was implemented in Nov 2013 by former Jakarta Governor, Bpk Joko Widodo was have…
If you would like to support JAAN in their efforts to achieve a nationwide ban as well as rehabilitate former topeng monyet, you could consider donating to them through their “sponsor an ex-dancing monkey” program to help see these poor creatures returned to their rightful home.
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