5 min read

Woman Saves Monkey Who Was Chained To A Fence For Being ‘Aggressive’

“She knew I was helping — she was nice and not aggressive at all.”

Last weekend, Femke Den Haas got a distressing phone call about a monkey who needed help. Someone had chained the young macaque to the top of a metal fence, which was next to a busy highway in Jakarta, Indonesia, and abandoned her there.

“The owner chained her because she was said to be ‘aggressive,’” Den Haas, founder of Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN), told The Dodo. “Some people passing by would feed her."

Woman reaching up to help chained monkey
Den Haas reaching up for the chained macaque | JAAN

Den Haas hurried to see the monkey, who turned out not to be aggressive at all.

“When I called the monkey … she came down a little,” Den Haas said. “Then I could take her off the chain and take her into my hands.”

Woman reaching up for chained macaque monkey
JAAN

“She knew I was helping — she was nice and not aggressive at all,” Den Haas added. “People don’t understand monkeys, and that monkeys react aggressively when they’re scared.”

Monkey touching woman's head
JAAN

The monkey, now named Slipi, is about 1 and a half years old. Den Haas believes she was stolen from the forest as a baby and sold into the pet trade.

“It’s so sad that people don’t understand primates and still keep them as pets here in Indonesia,” Den Haas said. “They are never suitable to be kept as pets — they grow up and get more and more depressed and frustrated ... and people don’t understand their behavior.” 

Rescuers helping macaque monkey
JAAN

When frightened, pet macaques may bite or “attack” their owners, which is interpreted as aggression, Den Haas explained. Sadly, this leads to people abandoning the monkeys or even shooting them with air rifles.

Rescued macaque monkey being driven to safety
JAAN

“It happens so often,” Den Haas said. “We get reports on a weekly basis about abandoned pet monkeys.”

“The government still has [taken] no action against the trade in baby primates, which is a huge welfare issue,” she added.

Rescued macaque monkey being driven to safety
JAAN

The pet trade isn’t the only threat to wild macaques — people also capture them to be used as “dancing monkeys” in the entertainment industry. Wild macaques are also hunted for food and traditional medicine, and sold to scientific research facilities around the world as experiment subjects.

But Slipi is one of the lucky ones. Once she arrived at JAAN’s rehabilitation center, the team removed the chain from her neck, and now they’re helping her recover physically and emotionally from her ordeal.

Rescued macaque monkey being driven to safety
Slipi after getting the chain removed from his body | JAAN

At the moment, it’s not clear if Slipi will be able to be released back into the wild — she’ll first need to pass some medical tests and go through several months of rehabilitation. Then, if she seems like a good candidate, the JAAN team will need to find an appropriate release site.

Yet everyone at JAAN, including Den Haas, is hoping she’ll get back to the forest where she belongs.

To help Slipi get back to the wild, you can make a donation to JAAN.