Pig-tailed Macaque should be living in a huge, matriarchal family, chattering in trees of lush rain-forests in Thailand. Foraging for seeds, leaves & flowers. Instead, as infants they’re snatched from forests, chained by the neck, shoved into cages barely big enough, transported to specialist monkey school’s. Trained to shimmy up 100ft high coconut trees, always chained to pick 1,000 coconuts a day. Denied freedom, any semblance of a natural life.
Leashed monkey’s play a miserable part in the £315 million Thai coconut milk market, 10% of which is bought by the UK. They’re also cruelly taught to ride bicycles, shoot basketball hoops, perform sit-ups, pretend to lift weights to double as money-spinning entertainers for tourists. Once trained, sold to farmers for 50,000-100,000 Thai baht (£750-£2,500).
Of course, coconuts can be picked by humans but we aren’t as efficient as Macaques, plus the cost of paying staff, insurances. Harvesting coconuts is a critical source of income in poor countries. Embracing mechanised pickers, planting dwarf coconut trees are sustainable solutions.
Great to learn Waitrose, Ocado, Boots, ASDA in the UK have vowed to stop selling monkey-picked coconut products. Still, a long way to go to save these helpless, vulnerable monkey’s.