This mother monkey keeps a close eye on her baby by hanging onto its tail. The troop lives in what is known as the Ubud Monkey Forest, situated in Pandangtegal, a village in Bali, Indonesia. This is a sanctuary where the monkeys live as they would in the wild. It is an important spiritual and conservation centre for the village. Thousands of tourists explore this forest each month, being given a chance to watch and possibly even interact with the monkeys on their own terms.
The tourism that occurs here supports maintenance and conservation of the sacred forest and sustains the village economically. Rare plants and animals thrive here, providing a sanctuary for more than just monkeys. The monkeys' food is supplemented, although much of their diet is obtained naturally within the forest.
These tourists were taking a break from the hike and a troop of curious monkeys came through where they were seated. The monkeys are long tailed macaques and they are generally friendly and playful animals that approach visitors curiously. They are still wild animals and should be treated respectfully, but there is no threat to people who do not try to handle them inappropriately.
This monkey climbs on Kristy and watches the guests as he explores her nose and face with his hands. He is as fascinated with the wide eyed people as they are with him. Eventually, a guide suggests that Kristy should stand up and walk away, ending the interaction with the monkey.
For most people, a friendly encounter with such an adorable little primate is a dream come true. Perhaps the reason that we identify so well with monkeys is that they remind us of ourselves. With similar features and a similar social structure, they are a lot like we are.