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Javanese Masked Monkey

Photographs by Vova Pomortzeff

Every day Undoon, the trained Javanese macaques, and his 17-year-old owner Latif come to a busy crossroad in the city centre of Surakarta in Central Java, Indonesia. The boy strums a simple melody with a wrench at a homemade xylophone, while the monkey bows to passing drivers wearing a mask from a broken doll's head. Simple business brings to Latif a profit as large as about 10 US dollars per a day. Street performances with wild monkeys, which were caught in surrounding jungles, called 'topeng monyet' or 'masked monkey', are popular source of income of Indonesian urban poor. Despite the protests of animal rights activists, the number of trained monkeys in the streets of Indonesian cities increases each year.

1. Javanese macaques Undoon at his workplace.

 

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3. Javanese macaques Undoon and his 17-year-old owner Latif.

 

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5. Undoon hurrying to eat a piece of banana during a short break.

 

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9. Undoon is able to walk on his front legs also.

 

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12. Latif drinks his tea from a plastic bag, giving some drops to the pavement for Undoon.

 

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14. Latif fixing Undoon's dress.

 

15. Undoon trying his second mask on.

 

16. The rival company. Another training monkey works at the next crossroad.

 

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The photographs of this feature were shot in August 2011 in Surakarta, Central Java, Indonesia.

Copyright 2011 Vova Pomortzeff

 
   
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