Monkey as butlers’ help maimed US soldiers in Afghanistan lead a normal life

Thursday, May 6, 2010

LONDON - American soldiers and officers who were physically disabled while fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, are being given monkeys as butlers to perform their daily tasks.

The clever capuchins are trained to react to where a laser pen is shined. Provided by a charity, the primate pets help amputees and paralysed soldiers lead normal lives.

Wheelchair-bound Corporal Tim Jeffers, who lost both of his legs, his right eye and part of a hand in Iraq, said of his monkey butler: “He has changed my life and is my best friend.”

Jeffers is among dozens of US war veterans to get a trained primate called Webster, The Sun reports.

He said: “After six months in a military hospital I struggled with daily tasks like turning on a light switch or using a TV remote. But Webster changed all that. He leaps into action at the point of a laser pen and can fetch on command.

“Webster can operate a remote, get objects from a high shelf and open jars of peanut butter.”

The primates, which have been trained at a cost of 30,000 pounds each, are the brainchild of a charity called Helping Hands: Monkey Helpers For The Disabled.

A fund called The Paralysed Veterans of America now provides with much-needed grants.

South American capuchin monkeys were found to be the best primates to train and are also good-natured. Regular monitoring of the creatures ensures their own health and well-being. (ANI)

Filed under: Monkey, World

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