Meet the monkey whisperer

Meet the monkey whisperer

KOTA BARU - Wan Ibrahim Wan Mat, 60, of Kampung Padang Halban, Melor, has been a teacher for more than 20 years and trained thousands of students.

However, his students are not humans, but coconut-plucking short-tailed macaques.

Wan Ibrahim, or Tok Wan Leman, has an uncanny ability and is an expert at training the wild monkeys. He uses just four words - tuh (itu or that), gih (pergi or go), maghi (mari or come) and sambung (continue).

"I do not use many words, as they only serve to confuse the monkeys."

His services are much sought after by villagers.

There are also those who come from other states, including Pahang, to seek his advice.

Wan Ibrahim trains up to 20 monkeys every two weeks.

He said once the animals were given to him, he would take two to three days to familiarise himself with them.

"After that, they will attend two classes to learn to climb trees and pluck coconuts.

"Normally, the classes last for eight hours per session," said Wan Ibrahim, who learnt the skill from religious teacher Tok Che Wan in Kuala Terengganu in the 1980s.

Wan Ibrahim, who has three children, said he charged RM150 to RM160 (S$57.80 to S$61.60) to train a macaque.

His wife, Rogayah Ibrahim, 48, cooks a kilogramme of rice daily to feed his "trainees".

"I support his work as it helps animal owners earn a living," she said.

Each macaque is able to pluck about 500 coconuts daily, which can generate about RM100 for its owners.


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