The Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT) has taken a new rescue under its wing – a 15-year-old white-handed gibbon Jub Jib. When she was a baby, Jub Jib was living happily with her family in the treetops of Kaeng Krachan, the biggest national park in Thailand, which is also one of the biggest unharmed stretches of tropical evergreen forest in mainland South Asia. According to the information given to WFFT, Jub Jib’s mother was killed during a battle between armed forces from Thailand and Burma. When it happened, Jub Jib was clinging onto her mother and both gibbons fell to the ground, the baby was badly injured. The fall resulted in severe head injuries which, as was found out later, led to epilepsy for Jub Jib.
After that terrible incident, Jub Jib was handed over to a couple deemed to be suitable caretakers for the animal on the account of their previously owning a pet gibbon who, unfortunately, had passed away. Jub Jib spent the next fifteen years kept inside a house, treated like a human baby. She was fed human foods, which led to severe malnutrition, kept in diapers all day and night, with no opportunity to exercise or even experience sunlight. Fortunately for this primate, the family finally decided to give her away to the WFFT, since some of the members no longer wanted her in the house.
When she arrived at the WFFT after all those years, she was completely dazed, the team described her as an “emaciated sad little soul.” It turned out that the people who kept her gave the gibbon some “off the market” strong sleeping pills to help her relax on the journey to the sanctuary. But after the pills stopped working, Jub Jib’s condition was still a shocking sight. She moved slowly, like a very old gibbon. At just 15, she should be still highly vigorous, strong, and in her prime time. She was scared of walking on grass and gravel and tried to eat any green thing she saw. It is very likely that it was the first time Jub Jib walked on the ground and grass in years…
The look of absolute wonder and amusement on Jub Jib’s face at the sight of greenery just melts our hearts. Perhaps it reminds her of a life long lost.
Jub Jib’s case is one of striking misjudgment on the part of people who, though they claimed to care for the animal, were doing her immense harm, subjecting her to live in completely unnatural and detrimental conditions. She was not only treated like a human child and continuously kept inside but also treated for her epilepsy with human anti-depressants – to which she is now most probably addicted and has to be weaned off of. She is in such bad shape due to the malnutrition that she cannot properly grasp objects with her hands and has to be so far hand-fed. Her bones are thin and stiff, she cannot climb, and barely walks.
It will be a difficult journey – there is a big chance that the years spent locked away have caused irreparable damage to her physical and mental well-being – but with the help of her new friends who are determined to heal her body and soul and in an environment that is finally suitable to her species, this poor animal will, at last, have a chance to learn anew how to be a gibbon.
Click here to learn more about WFFT and their work for animals in need.
Image source: WFFT/Facebook