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Highland Farm Update: Sixteen More Primates Rescued!

After a long-running gibbon sanctuary in Thailand sadly closed, WFFT stepped in to offer assistance to the animals who would no longer have a home. 

The Highland Farm Gibbon Sanctuary cared for many animals, including over 70 gibbons, and over 20 macaques of different species. Many of the animals had been rescued from cruelty or low-welfare conditions, including primates who had been cruelly kept as pets. 

Government authorities have given WFFT permission to rescue and rehome many of the animals, with the first fifteen primates arriving safely at our wildlife rescue centre last month. 

With so many animals to rescue and Highland Farm located over a ten hour drive away from our sanctuary in Phetchaburi, the rescue operation is complex and requires multiple visits. 

Now this week, we returned to Highland Farm for the second time, and rescued 16 more primates.

The Sad Story Behind the Rescue

Highland Farm Gibbon Sanctuary (earlier known as “William Deters Foundation”) was founded during the late 1990s by William and Pharanee Deters. It started as a rescue centre for gibbons, but over the years other species were housed at the beautiful hillside sanctuary in Mae Sot.

William sadly died in 2002 during a tragic incident at the sanctuary, and Pharanee Deters spent the next two decades working tirelessly to look after the animals, up until her passing in August 2022. Unfortunately, there was no will to hand over the land to the foundation or anyone who could feasibly continue the work for the animals left behind.

WFFT Step In To Help

After hearing that the animals were left in limbo and in need of help, WFFT expressed our willingness to rehome the animals, along with a supporting appeal submitted to the authorities which was signed by numerous animal welfare organisations from around the world – to whom we are deeply grateful.

After months of talks with the authorities, WFFT received a list of the first 30 primates that can be rehomed to our sanctuary, and we expect this list to grow substantially as the situation develops. In total, we endeavour to rehome and rescue around 70 primates, making it the biggest-ever gibbon rescue in WFFT’s 22-year history.

We cannot thank Asia Wild, Jim Cronin Memorial Fund and IPPL enough for their support to help these primates in need.

Can You Help Them?

Over 30 primates from Highland Farm have now arrived in our care! With more hungry mouths to feed, carers to hire, enclosures to maintain, and numerous animals needing veterinary care and medical needs, any gift to support this monumental rescue mission would be hugely appreciated and will help support these animals’ life-long care at WFFT.


Our Mission

WFFT is one of South East Asia’s largest animal sanctuaries and cares for over 700 animals. The sanctuary rescues and rehabilitates captive wild animals, and offers a forever home to those who cannot safely be returned to the wild.

The charity also focuses on raising awareness of wildlife conservation and animal exploitation by educating tourists and local communities on the urgent issues facing animals today.

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