School’s in at the agricultural monkey training
college in Surat Thani, Thailand. Another unwilling apprentice begins his life’s
work in the coconut trade. How long have you been training monkeys, and
how many monkeys have you trained? I’ve been training monkeys for thirty years.
This is my career. After three to six months training, Somphon
says one of his young charges can pick up to 500 coconuts a day. Monkeys have become a feature of the local
industry he says, hundreds of them at work in the plantations around Surat Thani. But lately Somphon has switched his focus
to a much more lucrative sideline — the tourist trade. At the end of a
long day, Somphon and his favourite monkey
— ‘son’ he calls him — sit back and reflect on their fortune and fame.