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Mr. Big is Finally Freed from Chains

Yesterday we received a telephone call about a young male Northern pig-tailed macaque (Macaca leonina) that was being kept at a temple not far far away for the WFFT Wildlife Rescue Centre. They had been keeping this macaque since he was a very small baby after he was dumped there as an unwanted pet. It was reported that he had been poached from the wild not to far from the temple, this would have involved the killing of his mother and possibly other troop members. He has been restrained by a short chain for the past 4 years he spent at the temple, the chain was put around his neck when he was a juvenile, he grew and unsurprisingly the chain did not grow with him. This resulted in the chain being imbedded in his neck causing immense damage and pain to his neck. This morning a man who worked at the temple brought him to the WFFT Wildlife Hospital.

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.

After arriving at the WFFT Wildlife Hospital the vet team were shocked to see the damage done by the chain that was used to cruelly restrain him, this chain has been around his neck for most of his short life. If he were not brought for treatment this will have eventually killed him. He is missing his left eye; this may have been lost while he was poached from the wild. We have named him ‘Mr. Big’. The use of chains to restrain animals is seen throughout Thailand, we often see this and the chain regularly becomes completely imbedded within the skin of the animal. Mr. Big will spend the next few weeks under the care of the WFFT Vet Team, having his wound cleaned everyday. After this we hope that he will be introduced to some of the other macaques and start enjoying his chain free life within one of the many large open top fields here at WFFT.

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