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Off the Streets & Back to the Forest


March was another wet month with daily monsoonal rains so not many monkey performers out and about. The release program is still in the administration stage waiting on release permits for the new release location. The new monkeys are learning to adapt to the new environment as they wait for blood tests.

Monkey Behaviour/Health:  
All month, we tried to find a lab to get the non-human Hepatitis B & TBC primate blood tests needed for Desmond and Dekker, the two new monkeys in quarantine, but still no luck. The monkeys are doing well despite being in the smaller cages and are playing with whatever they can such as frogs and bugs and also enrichment placed in their cages. We hope to be able to get the blood tests done so they can either begin their socialization if they are healthy, or treatment if they are not. The other monkeys are on track with their behavior and await release.

Update on Monkey Street Performance (Topeng Monyet)  Investigation and Campaign:

On the 19th of March we had a visit from 6 students and their US teacher from a university in Karawang, West Java. The students travelled 13 hours by bus and train for the one day workshop with AFJ. The aim was to learn how to give a presentation on animal welfare with a particular focus on the Off the Streets and Back to the Forest monkey campaign. Initially, AFJ were going to travel there and do the presentation but we decided it would be more effective for the students to visit then do their own presentation.The students will use the information to do a presentation at a student camp in April and hopefully to their university and local community, since there are many monkey performers and traders there. This is one way AFJ is getting the ‘Stop Monkey Trade and Perfomers’ message out there -Training others to campaign within their local community. 

Campaign and Investigation:
The government still have not replied to our request to meet on the Topeng Monyet situation, so we continue to contact them for a meeting.

We held a social media campaign on 29 March 2016 asking people to send in photo, video, time and location information if they saw any monkey performers in their neighbourhoods. 

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afj maraprmay16 6Summary:
Well the wet season is still here, though it should have slowed down by now. Our enclosure is increasingly rusting and we need to do repairs but haven’t found a welder that will come to the sanctuary as yet.  The monkeys are still with us as we negotiate the permit issue with the BKSDA and still no word from the government. We focus on education for now and hope the more children learn about the cruelty and danger of the monkey performances, the less they will support this cruel form of exploitainment.

Monkey Behaviour/Health:  
Observations done this month confirm that the monkeys are continuing to become more connected as a group so the extra time they are having is actually proving beneficial and will increase their strength to make it in the real world. We have not been able to get the two new monkeys Desmond and Dekker blood tested here in Jogja, so JAAN have agreed to collect them as soon as their current group has been fully released. They will then stay in Jakarta where they can be tested and join the latest group of monkeys until both groups are ready for release.

Update on Monkey Street Performance (Topeng Monyet)  Investigation and Campaign:

For Earth Day we were invited to a local Montessori School to take part in an Earth Day Bazaar. Our AFJ children’s game ‘Out of the Cage and Back to the Wild’ was a great success as children learned about the cruelty of cages taking toy animals out of the terribly cruel cage (a box with a picture of a cage on it), and returning them to their proper habitats (large posters of different habitats hanging around the yard of the school).  Many children think that cages and chains are where animals live as they don’t see anything else, and animal exploitation for entertainment is often encouraged in the community. Our game is a simple but very effective way for children of a very young age to understand that cages, chains, circuses and street performances are not natural environments for animals. 

This month we bought the puppet making materials for the monkey puppet show and a workshop was held to cut the patterns. In May we will begin hand sewing the puppets. So far the voices have been recorded and we need to find a technician to add the sound effects. 

Campaign and Investigation:
AFJ continues to enquire on the progress of our request to meet with the government to discuss the monkey issue but no response as yet.

There were no monkey sightings reported in April due to bad weather.

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afj maraprmay16 8Summary :
The rain did not stop in May as it should have so we had hardly any dry days which again kept away the monkey performers from the streets. It was so rainy that we had a flood at the sanctuary with river water running into the monkey enclosure, but the monkeys were all safely up in the branches and not affected. Our focus was again on the monkey release administration and we got some good news this month with the BKSDA agreeing on the release in Jember. Some repairs were done on the enclosure but still we need some new pipes and wire to be welded. Desmond and Dekker were relocated to Jakarta. Our monkeys are happy and settling in to their group status awaiting release. We had a visit from some very passionate animal loving students from a local high school.

Monkey Behaviour/Health:  
Since we were still unable to get the tests done on Desmond and Dekker, it was decided to move the monkeys to JAAN’s enclosures in Jakarta, where they could be tested straight away and wait to be released at the same time as the AFJ group. On May 5th two workers from JAAN drove to Yogyakarta and picked up Desmond and Dekker. They arrived safely and are now in the good hands of JAANs monkey team.  

In the meantime, our fabulous five monkeys are getting lots of enrichment with bamboo filled with caterpillars. There is a caterpillar plague at the moment, (due to the lack of birds) and the monkeys love them, so we utilize them in the bamboo enrichments. The individual monkeys have been steadily growing closer as a group, including Louise getting closer to Mario. We are glad they have this extra time before release as we were still worried about Louise’s progress up until March but now she is doing really well with Mario as her ally.

Update on Monkey Street Performance (Topeng Monyet)  Investigation and Campaign:

On the 13th of May a group of very interested junior high school students and their teachers visited AFJ from a local school to learn about wild and domestic animal care. The students were very interested in our monkeys and watched the food preparation, after which they quietly observed the monkeys being moved in to the feeding enclosure and fed. Despite not being able to assist as the monkeys are in isolation, and only allowed to have minimal contact with daily care workers, the students were able to learn about the rehabilitation process and the necessity for bush food. Next time they come, they will be able to create enrichments and collect insects and fruit in the woods around the sanctuary for the monkeys.  Afterwards, we had a discussion on why monkey performances are exploitation not entertainment. The students said they would help by reporting if they saw any performing monkeys in their neighborhoods, and the teachers would follow the visit with a lesson on ways to protect wild animals. 

Monkey puppet show puppets are being sewn up. We still haven’t found a technician to do the sound effects. We hope to get the same volunteer that did the shark puppet show sound effects but he’s moved to Jakarta so we are waiting for him to come to Jogja. In the meantime we will try to find someone else. 

Campaign and Investigation:

Still no word from the government on our request to discuss an end to monkey exploitation.

It’s too easy to exploit these monkeys in our city; using them for money making and entertainment. As soon as they get too old or dangerous to obey they end up in chains or cages. This first group of AFJ rescued monkeys has taken years to rehabilitate and even longer to secure a location and government cooperation for their release. AFJ just wants to help them live out their lives in their natural habitat, after years of abuse and exploitation but the process is so long.

We believe that once we have some support from the government to ban the trade and exploitation of long tailed macaques, the process for release will be much quicker and less bureaucratic. If the government agrees to ban monkey trade and exploitation in Yogyakarta, there will be some initial confiscations, for which AFJ needs to be ready with suitable infrastructure, but thereafter, there should be significantly fewer monkeys being held captive in Yogyakarta.

We hope that the Yogyakarta Regional Government will take notice and assist AFJ and partner organizations to end monkey exploitation in Yogyakarta.

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