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Monkeys’ Father – The Man Who Dedicated His Life to Wild Macaques in Tibet

When 69-year-old Dobrgyal started looking after the wild macaques at at scenic spot in China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, their population numbered only 40-50 specimens. Today, 18 years later, that same place is home to over 2,800 Tibetan macaques.

Dobrgyal’s relationship with the Tibetan macaques in Gongbo’gyamda County has been described as a heartwarming love story between man and monkey, and he has come to be known as the Monkeys’ Father. A former forest keeper in the area, the 69-year-old man has been driving 5 km almost every day just to feed the macaques at a popular tourist spot, but also show them affection and make sure they are healthy. On occasions, he has even taken some of the animals home with him and nursed them back to health.

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Chinese “Monkey Village” Becomes Living Hell for Locals

A picturesque Chinese village where humans live alongside hundreds of macaques sounds like a great vacation destination, but for the local population it’s apparently a daily living hell.

A little over a decade ago, authorities in Xianfeng village, in southwestern Sichuan Province came up with an ingenious plan to boost tourism and turn their quaint settlement in one of China’s most popular destinations – attracting wild macaques from the surrounding mountains to their village. Locals spent 48 days drawing in 73 monkeys using food, and their plan worked like a charm. The animals started settling in, and as word about a real-life monkey village spread throughout the region, businessman interested in investing in the novel tourist attraction arrived in Xianfeng.

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World’s Loneliest Chimp Hugs Human Visitors after Years of Isolation on Tiny African Island

After three years of isolation on a remote island, Ponso the chimp finally received a visitor this year – Estelle Raballand, director of the Chimpanzee Conservation Center. The lonely chimp’s happiness was obvious from his ear-to ear-grin and the way he almost immediately hugged Estelle when she reached out to him.

Ponso’s tragic story began thirty years ago, when he was abandoned off Africa’s Ivory Coast along with 65 other chimpanzees. These chimps, most of which were captured in the wild, were used by the New York Blood Center (NYBC) for hepatitis research. During the testing phase they were reportedly biopsied, anesthetized, and chained by their necks to jungle gyms. After the tests were complete, the lab left the chimps on various remote islands with no natural source of food, occasionally dropping off supplies.

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The Real Planet of the Apes – The Liberian Island Inhabited by Chimpanzees Formerly Used in Animal Testing

Believe it or not, a real-life Planet of the Apes does exist in an isolated area located deep in the jungles of West Africa. It’s home to dozens of retired laboratory chimpanzees who were at one point used for medical research. These chimps are practically heroes – they’ve managed to survive disease, two civil wars and numerous medical tests and experiments.

The apes are former residents of The Liberian Institute of Biomedical Research (Vilab II) which played a pivotal role in developing treatments for ailments such as Hepatitis during the 1970s. It was shut down in the mid-2000s due to growing pressure from animal rights activists, and the apes were transferred to a remote Liberian island in the middle of Farmington River, to live a life of quiet retirement.

The island – known to locals as ‘Monkey Island’ – is home to over 60 chimps who only allow familiar caretakers to approach its shores. Their story was covered in a short documentary film called Island of the Apes made to promote the 2014 film Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

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Japanese Restaurant Employs Masked Monkey Waiters

Are you running a restaurant and can’t afford to hire waiters? Well, you could take a cue from this Japanese restaurant that hired monkeys for the job. And in an attempt to make them look more human, they even strapped masks on their faces. Not that they really fooled anybody.

The restaurant in question is Kayabuki, in the Miyukihoncho part of Utsunomiya, North of Tokyo. The place is a traditional ‘sake house’, which makes its choice of staff even stranger – a couple of monkeys named Yat-chan and Fuku-chan working as waiters (or waitresses, we’re not sure). 16-year-old Yat-chan is the older of the two, but he moves quickly between tables as he takes the customers’ drink orders. Fuku-chan gives diners a hot towel and helps them clean their hands before they order their drinks, as is the custom in Japan.  Believe it or not, the pair is actually certified by local authorities to work at the restaurant. The customers like them as well, so they get tipped with soya beans. One customer, Takayoshi Soeno said, “The monkeys are actually better waiters than some really bad human ones.”

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The Snow Monkeys of Jigokudani Yaen-koen Park

Even though the name of this park might not sound very familiar you’ve probably heard about the Snow Monkeys of Japan.

The Jigokudani Yaen-koen (Hell Valley Wild Monkey Park) is located in the Nagano mountains and since it was opened, in 1964, this park has been the attraction of tourists from all over the world, eager to see the famous snow monkeys.

The Japanese Macaques (Macaca Fuscata) are monkeys native to northern Japan and very much used to being around people. Even so, the park’s officials recommend that you shouldn’t try  touching them or even looking directly into their eyes, as this is considered, in the monkey society, a sign of enmity.

They are the most north-living species of primate, able to survive temperatures of below -15 °C. Their bodies are covered in a brown-gray coat of fur and they have red skin on their face, hands and bottom. Although they sometimes spend their time in the mountains, they just love bathing and swimming in the hot springs. In the park you can sometimes find about 200 monkeys enjoying the hot water of Japanese onsen in the spring and especially during Japan’s extremely cold winters.

The sight of monkeys in hot water with snow falling on their heads is particularly beautiful.

The Jigokudani park is located in the center of Japan, on the valley of the Yokoyu River, in a harsh environment where snow is present for about four months, reason enough to be named Hell Valley, although the monkeys seem to love this place.


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