In preparation for topical CNY celebrations, special performing monkeys in the Henan village of Baowan are working in high gear at the hands of their ethically dubious trainers.
These pics were taken in Baowan village’s Qilingang Monkey Farm, which houses some 400 monkeys all bred to perform.
Monkey breeding is technically illegal in China — not that that stops anyone, apparently — and Baowan’s population of 2,500 supposedly need the dough that comes from the performances. They are reluctant to start farming after centuries of relying on the lucrative monkey business.
With “monkey busking” being the villagers’ main source of income since pre-modern times, the animals are trained to do all manner of spectacles, including acrobatics, knife throwing, bike riding, and purportedly mathematics (who knows).
One trainer by the name of Zhang Zhijie, 57, who coaches a 4-year-old macaque, shares some insight into his job:
It started from my grandfather, then my father, and then it was passed down onto me. Now, and back then, we would go out to perform (with monkeys). My kids studied in primary school, and then went to college – their education was completely paid for by money made from our monkey performances.
It’s unclear how the monkeys feel about it all, though.
[Images via NetEase]