COMPLIED BY SUBAJAYANTHI B.
A "working monkey" rides on the back of a pickup truck with its owner and other workers to work at a coconut plantation in Chumphon province in southern Thailand. The monkey, a pig-tailed macaque, can quickly scamper up the trunk of a coconut palm, select the ripe ones and with a twist pull the fruit and drop it to the ground. "One monkey can pick about 300 coconuts a day. The monkey works 10 times quicker than man," says Somboon Cheumuang, the monkey's owner. About 1,200 trained monkeys work as coconut pickers in the country's southern coastal provinces of Prachuab Khiri Khan, Chumphon, Surat Thani, Ranong and Nakhon Si Thammarat.