July 28, 2009—On a farm in India, Mani the monkey uses her own mysterious methods to tend dozens of goats without any supervision or training, according to the Associated Press. Video.
© 2009 National Geographic (AP)
In a story reported by the AP, every morning, a worker at the Palagapandi estate in India, opens the door to the pen and lets the goats and their kids out.
But as they head to the forest to graze no human herder accompanies them.
That's because Mani, the resident monkey, shepherds the goats- numbering 75- around the plantation.
SOUNDBITE (Malayalam): Martin K, Estate Manager- "She takes out the goats for grazing and brings them back. A shepherd is usually required to accompany the goats all day long and bring them back in these hills. But because of her, manpower can be spared. She is as good as a shepherd. The only thing is that she does not speak, but otherwise carries out all responsibilities."
They say they feel confident that the goats will be safe when Mani accompanies them.
Mani is said to make a strange sound when she discovers a goat is missing or when danger lurks.
Soundbite (Malayalam): Pankajam, Estate Worker- "She makes a strange noise if she finds a goat missing. Even though such a large number of goats go out for grazing, nobody accompanies them. If Mani is with them, we are confident that she will bring back the goats safely, wherever they might go."
It has been three years since Mani came to stay at the estate.
SOUNDBITE (Tamil): Gopal, Shepherd- "No training of any kind was given to her. When we first saw her, she had wounds all over her body. We applied some medicine and set her free. But she did not leave. She preferred to be in the company of the goats and thus she gained their companionship."
She and her baby play around with the goats and their kids.
Plantations in and around Palagapandi estate grows coffee, cardamom and oranges.
And at the end of the day, Mani returns her flock to their shelter safe and sound.