Bangkok, Thailand — A macaque monkey that was imprisoned for 25 years in a dark, rat-infested, garbage-strewn cage has finally been rescued. In 1991, he was captured from the wild as a baby, given the name “Joe”, and turned into a family pet. Normally, you would think this was the beginning of a fun children’s story like Curious George. But in Joe’s case, curious he wasn’t when he was taken to a slum in downtown Bangkok and thrown into a tiny, dark cubby-hole.
Over the years, Joe had become something of a spectacle among the locals and tourists. People would walk by and see Joe’s hands and desperate eyes peering through the cage. Thinking he was some kind of homegrown circus act, people would throw him bits of food here and there. Joe’s life would go on this way for 25 long years. Only if they knew his full story, and the circumstances of how he ended up there.
Then suddenly one day, his luck changed for the better. A caring tourist passing through the slum unexpectedly ran into Joe. She saw the conditions he was living in, and felt a kinship through his mournful eyes. She then made a call to the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT) to report what she had seen.
Investigators from WFFT were dispatched to locate Joe. But because of the vague details they had to work with, finding him in a large overpopulated slum would prove difficult. After a week, they finally located Joe and were appalled in the horrendous conditions he was living.
According to Edwin Wiek, founder of WFFT,
“I have seen a lot of animal suffering in the last 17 years, but I would say that the condition the monkey was kept in was probably in the “Top 10” of most horrible cases.”
And when the WFFT team learned more details about Joe’s plight, they were even more shocked. Edwin was informed by his team that Joe had…
“no water to drink, in almost complete darkness, alone, in his own and human dirt, “his world” being only 70 x 80 x 80 centimetres for the last 25 years!”
The WFFT team located Joe’s captor and persuaded him to give up Joe. The series of photos below details the incredible moment Joe was finally rescued:
1Rescuers finally freed Joe from his cage…
Joe was confined in that cramped cage for so long, his leg muscles had atrophied. He wasn’t able to walk when they freed him.
2Getting the nutrition he needs…
Joe was dehydrated and malnourished. WFFT veterinarians put him on a regulated diet to restore his health.
3Looking much healthier and happier…
Joe was taken to the WFFT sanctuary. Staff there say that he’s slowly recovering, and he is starting to move around. Though still not yet able to climb, he was seen bathing himself in clean water and interacting with other macaque monkeys.
The Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand is an amazing organization. They’re doing incredible work to end the plight of abused animals. Visit their website to learn more!