Now lots of volunteers that have helped out at the WFFT in the last 5 years remember Ting Tong, the sometimes a bit moody and at some times very mad Stump-tailed Macaque. Ting Tong was always a large energetic macaque that was more focused on people then on other monkeys; however he was able to get along just fine with all, under his strong body was a very gentle soul.
Ting Tong was slowly getting weaker however in the last few months and we could not find what was going on with him, stressed and frustrated he pulled out lots of his hair and lost weight. Extra feeding did not help even though he was stuffing his face big time with pumpkin, monkey-cow and lots of delicious fruits and vegetables. By the beginning of February Ting tong became wobbly on his legs and within a few days lost all sensation is both legs and further up to his waist, resulting in complete paralysis. Seeing Ting Tong suffering every day like that was hard to take and the resident veterinarian at that time concluded that Ting Tong had to be taken out of his misery and put to sleep to stop the suffering as no treatment was thought possible.
The day I took Ting Tong into the hospital to seal his fate I felt so powerless after knowing this long and not having a solution for his problems, the look in his eyes when he looked at me made me feel that he knew what was going to happen and the same time that putting all his trust in me to heal him as he was so calm and let me carry him without an resistance. At the moment I put him on the treatment table I felt guilty for not trying more to save him. Against all odds I decided to cancel our plans and take Ting Tong to Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok for a second opinion, knowing that his spinal injury was very serious and that the option would be very limited I just had to try this, not ready to say goodbye to him just yet. After arriving at the University in Bangkok with Ting Tong only two days later I made it clear how serious the situation was with Ting Tong, we would not let him live on in pain and suffering. I have no idea why suddenly so many doctors at the University became involved in the diagnoses and looking for a solution; but after a few hours the leading professor decided that he wanted to give Ting Tong a chance by performing spinal surgery on him, never done before on a macaque!
Some days of preparation were needed, however after 4 days we brought Ting Tong in for extensive x-rays and eventually surgery. Surgery took less than two hours and Ting Tong came out of his anesthesia after 5 hours which must have been painful as he was not able to even pull him self up against the wire of his moving cage. The team of doctors that performed the surgery on Ting Tong told us there was a fair chance of some recovery; however it would not be full and would take at least six to eight weeks. Intensive physiotherapy and lots of medication were prescribed. We arrived back at the center that evening in the darkness. The following days were not too bad, Ting Tong was in a good mood, his wounds on his legs from dragging himself around the cage were treated and actually became dry and clean. Although he was unhappy about his restrictions; I don’t know why but his spirit was good almost all the time, he wanted to live, he wanted to walk! Staff at the center and volunteers bathed Ting Tong everyday, lots of TLC and hot and cold water kept him stimulated most of the day and then suddenly after two weeks he lifted one of his legs while he was still in the hospital cage… Now I wanted to describe to you all what that news mend to us and in particular to me, but I am afraid I cannot put this in words. Since that day we did see daily improvements and by now the second half of April Ting Tong is walking around on four legs as if nothing ever happened.
I have heard people say what does it matter, this is just a macaque and not the most endangered species of Thailand, however I feel that Ting Tong is a victim of human greed and ignorance just like all the other wildlife at the rescue center and he deserves the best care and every chance to still have a happy and long life no matter what.
After experiencing this miracle I believe more than ever before that we should continue our fight for these animals pushing the boundaries further back!