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  Monkeys trained to help disabled
Updated 20 August 2004, 15.09
One of the monkeys in training
Monkeys are being trained in a university in America to work as helpers for disabled people.

The Capuchin monkeys are trained in tasks like opening fridges, replacing CDs and switching lights on and off.

The monkeys' nimble fingers and natural curiosity mean they learn the tasks very quickly. They're rewarded with treats of cream cheese and peanuts.

Once trained, the monkeys become helpers for quadriplegic people, who cannot use their arms or legs.

A monkey changes a CD

Helping Hands - Monkey Helpers for the Disabled, the organisation that trains the monkeys, has placed 93 monkey helpers with people.

Zoo

The monkeys are all from a nearby zoo which breeds them in captivity.

They train in a special facility that looks like someone's home.

The monkeys learn different commands and learn to follow a laser pointer.

A monkey receiving a dollop of cream cheese for completing a task
A monkey receiving a dollop of cream cheese for completing a task

The monkeys then spend about five years living with a family - getting used to people's activities and home life before they go to the centre for training.

After being trained they then go to live with the person they are to assist.

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