BUSY MONTH: Council worker grateful for the help of his 3 macaques
ABDULLAH BACHOK: THE hike in the price of coconuts this fasting month has been a cause of concern for many housewives, but it is good news for Zulkifli Mamat of Kampung Kemudi.
A general worker with the Bachok district council, he supplements his income by picking coconuts with the help of three macaques -- and he has had a busy month, so far.
Zulkifli, 46, said around this time every year, he would get many requests from villagers to pick coconuts.
"The unstable price of coconuts has made many people unhappy, but for me, work has doubled and this is good."
He normally charges RM70 for every 100 coconuts picked but has raised the price to RM90 for Ramadan.
Zulkifli said he brought his macaques to pick coconuts on weekends and after work so as not to disrupt his job at the council.
He said two of his macaques were called Hitam and Kuning, while the other had yet to be named.
"Rearing them is not difficult. They eat fruits and rice twice a day. Training them to pick coconuts normally takes between three and six months. Besides that, I also train them to pick up litter and put it into waste baskets so that they can perform at events."
The father of seven, who has been rearing and training macaques for about 30 years, said he had no plans to sell the macaques as they were useful to him.
In Kelantan, the sight of monkeys perched high on coconut trees picking fruits is quite common, especially in Bachok.
According to district officials, there are more than 1,000 monkeys, many of them short-tailed macaques, kept by about 200 farmers in the area.
Also known as pig-tailed macaques, they are of stocky build with creamy-brown fur on the back, a white belly, and dark brown fur on the crown.