As a country that is very rich in flora and fauna diversity, Indonesia has a lot of natural potentials that can be explored. It even influenced several cultural elements in Indonesia, such as the traditional Kuda Lumping dance, a wayang character named "Hanoman" which is a white monkey, and various traditional dances inspired by birds such as the Tari Enggang, Kancet Lasan, and much more.
Unfortunately, Indonesia's natural resources are often misused. Starting from land abuse and exploitation of animals. In addition to the many Indonesian cultures that are inspired by animals, many Indonesian cultures actually hurt these animals, such as Sabung Ayam, Karapan Sapi, Delman, and Topeng Monyet or dancing monkeys.
Recently, there was a TikTok video that attracted a lot of public attention, a video posted by Nahda Azahra shows a mother who is the mother of the account owner herself buying a baby monkey to be their pet. The footage then drew a lot of controversies, especially from the animal activist. One of which is Anna, an Indonesian vegan influencer and animal activist, she wrote on her Instagram story, “Imagine being that baby monkey, getting poached in the wild, separated from their mother, put in a box to be sold. Primates are so so aware, and we can not provide them with the same care and stimulation in a domesticated environment.”
The woman who posted the video wrote a clarification which explains that she bought the monkey based on a good intention of looking after it and giving it a decent life. If it grew up and became dangerous, it would be transferred to BKSDA. Unfortunately, that’s not the way to save those monkeys. Logically speaking, if we buy a monkey from a seller with the intention to take care of them, we still give money to the seller, which means we are actually helping them grow the business.
In the following post on her Instagram Story, Anna also wrote, “The monkey trade is a business, and like other businesses, the best way to stop them is to stop giving them money. If there’s no demand, there won’t be a need for supply.” Later on, the woman made another clarification that she finally reached out to Jakarta Animal Aid Network and returned the baby monkey for rehabilitation. That being said, there are so many people including Indonesian public figures who think having wild animals as a pet is fine.
Having wild animals as pets is not only harmful to animals, but it is also dangerous for the human owner. According to The Conversation, “Most new infectious diseases that scientists discover are zoonotic, which means they’re transmitted from wildlife to humans. More often than not, we don’t know where the disease originates.”
If we really want to protect those animals, we can stop contributing to the exploitation of not only primates but also of other exotic animals by not making them our pets, we can also donate to organisations such as @wildlifeaidnetwork, @savetheorangutan_org, and many more. For whatever reasons, keeping wild animals away from their natural habitat is animal cruelty. The zoo is no exception. People think that the zoo is actually helping those animals by imitating their natural habitat and providing them food. However, the zoo is not their home, and as long as people still go to the zoo, the business will still be going.