A joint wildlife rescue team on early Tuesday morning successfully saved five long-tailed macaques or locally called “kera” (monkey), from a business that runs ‘masked monkey shows’ or locally known as topeng monyet in the area of Cakung, East Jakarta.
The team consists of 32 personnel from the Ministry of Forestry, the Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN), the Jakarta public order agency (Satpol PP), the public facility maintenance agency (PPSU), and local residents.
The long-tailed macaques, ill-treated and exploited by their owners for masked-monkey street shows, were sent to rehabilitation centers, Cakung Sub-district Head Ahmad Salahuddin stated.
The monkeys were seized by the East Jakarta authorities in response to a video on an Instagram account that exposed the cruelty against the animals by the “topeng monyet” owners in the Pulo Jahe area of East Jakarta.
Five monkeys that got victims of animal abuse will be rehabilitated. Three monkeys were taken to the Wildlife Conflict Information and Education Center and two others were taken by JAAN to be rehabilitated.
Topeng monyet has been banned in Jakarta since 2013. Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan was notified about the maltreatment of the species in the video that went viral on the official Instagram account of JAAN, a non-profit organization functioning since early 2008 to protect wild animals in Indonesia and to fight for the welfare of pets in Jakarta.
During the rescue efforts, the authorities also seized two boxes containing equipment commonly used by the “topeng monyet” owners for masked-monkey street shows, he revealed.
There is a lot of evidence that monkeys that are forced to sing are persecuted to obey the buskers’ requests, so the DKI Jakarta Provincial Government has banned them.
East Jakarta Municipal Police intervened to search for the viral video on social media.
After searching, it was discovered that the monkey mask street buskers were not only done by two men in the video.
A number of residents of neighborhood 05 Pulo Jahe, Jatinegara Urban Village, Cakung were also monkey mask street buskers, and had their own monkeys, even with subordinates who helped with busking.
“For the owner of the monkey, we ask to make a statement that will not repeat his actions. Last night it was signed,” said East Jakarta Head of Satpol PP Budhy Novian when confirmed in Cakung, East Jakarta, Tuesday.
To the officers, two viral monkey mask street buskers also claimed to have the heart to torture monkeys because of the excuse that the primates obey their wishes.
“So the monkey must be emptied (thoughts) like that. The monkey is wild, the thoughts will be emptied first. Then will do for the skills training,” he said.
Cakung Sub-District Head Ahmad Salahuddin said the five monkey owners had been reckless busking even though monkey masks were banned.
There are some people that still love masked monkey shows among the middle and lower economic class that makes this profession still exist.