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Monkey school : Training phases for coconut-picking macaques (Macaca nemestrina)

FARHANI RUSLIN, MOHD ASROL AZMI, IKKI MATSUDA, RUSLIN AMIR, BADRUL MUNIR MD-ZAIN

Abstract


Pig-tailed macaques were preferred by handlers and trainers for traditional
coconut picking. In May–August 2011, the training phases for coconut-picking macaques were observed in Bachok, Kelantan, Malaysia. The training phases were distinguished, and new teaching methods of different trainers were noted. The mode of training involved two stages: first, at the base of the coconut tree and second, on the coconut tree. For stage one, the first step was to keep macaques interested in coconuts, which was the most difficult part of the training process. Macaques were encouraged to play with coconuts to instill interest in the fruit before learning to twist it from the infructescence. At the second stage, the
training in climbing the tree and choosing targeted fruits was conducted using vocal
commands. There were approximately 30 types of vocal commands in the dialect spoken by the handlers.


Keywords


Coconut picking, Macaca nemestrina, animal training, pig-tailed macaque, coconut harvester

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