Handlers say they earn as much as 1.7 million rupiah a month for working a few days a week — 500,000 rupiah more than the monthly basic salary of factory workers, who clock long hours daily. They rent a monkey for 15,000 to 30,000 rupiah a day, but have to pay the owners 1 million rupiah if they lose the animal.
Fellow handler Kholid Mawar insisted that the monkeys, who are kept in the slum in tiny brick enclosures with white, wooden doors, were properly looked after.
“I always feed the monkey... We treat him as if he were part of our family,” the 25-year-old said, adding that he was now struggling financially at a time when his second child had just been born.
“They say we have made the monkeys suffer, but what about us?” he asked.