Let us introduce you to Thong the highly endangered Northern white-cheeked gibbon, rescued by the WFFT Wildlife Rescue Team this morning. Her owners contacted us yesterday evening and asked us for help in providing her with a new more suitable home. We were informed by the owners that Thong had escaped five times and attacked and injured members of the public. They had finally realised that she is a dangerous wild animal and not a suitable pet, they were worried she would escape and attack more people. We were sent a photo of her in the terrible enclosure only yesterday afternoon, we had to save her from this hell hole so we headed out first thing this morning to free her. It took us three hours to reach the home where was kept. Upon arrival we 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 layered deep with trash and rotting food, after 10 years of being fed water and snacks from plastic containers you can imagine the immeasurable quantity of rubbish she was forced to live on top of, she slept, ate and defecated all in this one space. With only three small holes that she was able to pop her head to out to see what was going on in the outside world.
The WFFT team got straight into action, planning how we would get her out of this makeshift home made from pieces of trash, there wasn’t even a door so we could gain access. WFFT Veterinarian Motee prepared the sedative and Thong was darted, once she was sedated we began to break the cage open so we could finally get her out of there. This hell hole is thankfully her prison no more.
This Critically Endangered species is seen in highly fragmented populations in Laos DPR and Vietnam, why is she in Thailand? Non-native species are provided minimal protection under Thai law, domestic trade in these species is currently not regulated.
Ten years ago Thong was bought as a infant 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.
Thong was purchased by the ex-girlfriend of the son of her current owners. Many of you will be thinking how evil the owners were, how could they watch her suffer this way? However, Thongs owners loved her, they wanted the best for her. They donated food and gave a small cash donation for her care. We hope that some day humans will actually realise 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. 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.
For now, Thong is safe in the WFFT Quarantine Area, we hope that in the future she will be able to re-socialise with her own species, this will take time, we will give her the best chance at a new life we can. We will keep you posted on her progress. Keep an eye out for the video report of this very special successful rescue tomorrow.
We will continue to fight for animals like Thong and her wild cousins. Keep Wildlife Wild and Not as Pets.