The Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT) Wildlife Rescue Team just saved Thong, a highly endangered Northern white-cheeked gibbon. The team was contacted by the people who had kept the gibbon as a pet and were looking for a more suitable home. After 10 years of living in captivity in heartbreaking conditions, Thong is finally free, and she is now safe in the WFFT Quarantine Area.
WFFT was told by Thong’s “owners” that the gibbon had escaped her cage five times. While running free, she attacked and injured members of the public. Those incidents finally made the people keeping her realize that the gibbon was not a pet – but a wild animal that can be dangerous.
Worried about more possible escapes and attacks, they contacted the foundation and asked for help. When the team received a photo of Thong in her enclosure, they knew they had to act as soon as possible.
Upon arriving at the house the following morning, the rescuers were “shocked to find a tiny plastic filled make-shift shack behind a garage with this very special intelligent primate locked inside.”
The floor was covered in trash and rotting food. The animal was being fed water and snacks from plastic containers for 10 years, which resulted in an unbelievable amount of waste that she now had no choice but to live on top of…
The gibbon was forced to live, sleep, and defecate in one enclosed space with just three holes in the wall that she was able to pop her head in to look at what was around her small squalid “home.”
Thong was sedated by the WFFT veterinarian and the rescue team began to break the cage open to free her.
As the team found out, the gibbon was bought as an infant, 10 years ago, from Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok, a notorious hub for the illegal trade in wildlife. “Her mother will have been slaughtered, Thong and the rest of her family will have witnessed this, she was then illegally poached from the wild and smuggled into Thailand to be sold as a pet,” WFFT writes.
Thong is now finally in good hands and, hopefully, she will be able to re-socialize with other individuals of her own species in the future. Meanwhile, the team pledges to “give her the best chance at a new life” they can.
Although the conditions in which Thong had to live were horrifying, the rescuers point out that her “owners” (who had got her from their son’s ex-girlfriend) wanted the best for the monkey, donated food, and gave a small cash donation for her care.
“We hope that some day humans will actually realize that locking a sentient animal in a box for 10 years is not ok? And it is definitely not the way to show an animal that you love it,” the team writes. “We see so many cases of misguided love of animals. It must stop, people must learn that these animals have complex emotions, they are deeply affected by the actions of their owners.”
To learn more about Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand, click here.
All image source: Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand/Facebook