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20 Years of Solitary Confinement is over for this Lucky Macaque

Meet ‘Yuy’ the elderly female Northern pig-tailed macaque (Macaca leonina). A few days ago we received a call from a long-term supporter of WFFT, who had been given reports of an elderly macaque in urgent need of help. Prior to the request for the help of WFFT numerous zoos had been asked to help but as she is neither a cute young animal nor an animal of conservation value no one wanted to help her. WFFT try’s to rescue any wild animal in need, particularly ones that are in such desperate need of a better life. The WFFT Wildlife Rescue Team headed up to Bangkok to check the monkey in question, upon arrival the whole team was shocked at the living accommodation of this poor little soul.

Yuy’s ‘owner’ had purchased her 20 years ago from a well known illegal wildlife trade hub in the Prachuap Khiri Khan province not to far from WFFT. The owner had travelled to this area to find a pet gibbon but was unable to find one but instead found Yuy for sale, she paid 3000 THB / 85 USD for her. Yuy will have been taken from the wild after her mother and possibly her whole family will have been killed, and then sold on as a pet. After being transported back to Bangkok all those years ago she has been living in isolation in this terrible cage for the last 20 years, in a garden in central Bangkok. What kind of life has lived..? She has been fed only on snacks and milk, as you can see from the garbage that has built up in the bottom of her cage. This has to be one of the most harrowing scenes of animal cruelty and neglect we have ever seen.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species lists the Northern pig-tailed macaque as Vulnerable (VU). Their population has declined by over 30% over the last three generations across its entire range due to several threats, and this decline is predicted to continue at the same rate or higher in the next three generations. These animals are hunted and traded for food, sport and traditional “medicine”, and the live animals as pets. In Thailand, the males of this species are exploited for picking coconuts by the industry. Sometimes, a well-trained macaque is sold for 1,000USD. They are also in demand by resorts and other tourist attractions for inhumane circus style shows.

Upon arrival to the WFFT Wildlife Hospital a full check was conducted, we have found many abscesses on Yuy’s legs; we plan to treat these when she has settled into life at WFFT. She is currently being housed in quarantine and we are hopeful that once out of quarantine we will be able to introduce her to one of large open top fields, allowing her to be a macaque again, freedom of moment, proper diet, fresh air and company of her own species. After 20 years of solitary confinement this will be a special moment for us all!!! We will keep you posted.

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