During decades of political turmoil in China under Mao Zedong, monkeys were not trained or kept as pets, but often eaten.
But one village in rural Henan province, where the land is too hard and rough to grow crops, residents have for centuries relied on training performing monkeys to make money. And as the Year of the Monkey begins, they are hoping for bumper business.
Zhang Zhijie, 57, keeps a 4-year-old macaque tied on a leash just outside his home. Zhang comes from a line of monkey trainers and has made a small fortune performing across the country.
"It started from my grandfather, then my father, and then it was passed down to me. My kids studied in primary school, and then went (to) college," he said. “Their education was completely paid for by money made from our monkey performances.”
But the family business may be coming to an end - his children are not showing the same interest in the family tradition.
(Text editing by Brian McGee)