KOTA BHARU, Jan 11 -- Samsuddin Ibrahim learnt from his late grandfather the art of training monkeys to pluck coconuts. The experience prompted the 50-year-old Samsuddin’s interest to open a "school'' to train monkeys to climb and pluck coconuts.
Samsuddin, affectionately known as Sudin Chepo, for the past 30 years has trained more than 100 monkeys at his school of monkeys in Kampung Tok Sadang, here, using five different coconut-plucking techniques.
"Usually trainers will only train monkeys with the 'twisting' technique but I use as many as five different techniques such as twisting, biting, stepping, peeling and plucking.
"In fact, if a monkey is skillfully trained and can use various techniques to pluck coconuts, it will also help the monkey to be sold at a high market price of up to RM4,000 each," he said when met by reporters at his school in Kampung Tok Sadang, here, today.
Elaborating further, the father of two children said he took at least an hour per day over two months to ensure that a monkey is skilled in using the various techniques.
He said he will usually buy monkeys that are a year old and above from suppliers throughout the country including from Pahang, Terengganu, and also from Kelantan. He will pay RM250 for each before they are trained and sold to buyers to pick fruit while a handful is sold for competitions.
“There are also residents around here who send their monkeys for training and I charge them RM300 each. Usually, monkeys aged two and above are easy to train as they are strong.
"In fact, I also earn RM25 to pick 100 coconuts, and my monkeys can pick between 500 to 700 coconuts a day depending on the monkey's ability," he said.
Sudin Chepo owns two monkeys -- three-year-old Salleh and four-year-old Sadat.
He said to ensure that the monkeys remain energetic and agile he feeds them sugared water mixed with raw kampung eggs once a day in addition to a vaccination once every six months to keep them free from disease. I give them plain rice too," he said.
Samsuddin holds a permit from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks to rear monkeys.