Relationships, Attitudes and Emotions of Human towards Nonhuman Primates in Indonesia by Julia Keil

For those who are interested in Primatology, Indonesia seems to be a paradise. It comprises, as Grow et al. noted (2010:1-5), the natural habitats of many nonhuman primate species including the only Asian great apes, orang-utans, as well as different lesser apes, monkeys, loris and tarsiers. Yet today many of these species are going to become extinct, mainly due to deforestation and pet trade. Before disembarking on my explorative study in Yogyakarta, Java and Central Kalimantan, I had heard about primates, who suffered from inappropriate husbandry conditions, as shown by National Geographic (2015:14), or were forced to perform as masked dancing monkeys, as shown by Zimbio (2015). In the eyes of so-called ‘Westerners’ such images of afflicted primates cause bewilderment, even disgust. ‘This is abnormal!’, ‘How can people do that?’, ‘Why do they have this lack of empathy?’, ‘Is this attitude somehow related to religion and culture ?’ I could hear from friends, colleagues and ‘Western’ informants or asked myself respectively.