As wildlife habitat shrinks, the inevitable clashes between humans and animals around the world bring unlimited suffering to a myriad of animal species. It’s truly a tragedy to behold.
The silver lining, though, is that where there is tragedy there are good people who answer the call.
Thanks to the Wildlife Friends Foundation in Thailand (WFFT), last August, several caged animals in squalid conditions outside a temple in Rayong Province were emancipated from their life of neglect. And one encounter in particular can’t help but stir the human heart.
For the past seven or so years, a small macaque monkey, named Khai Now, lived in a small wire cage near the temple, likely abandoned by his former owner. At the temple, there were also over 100 other animals like him.
The level of neglect was shameful. With no room to climb or jump, Khai Now would spend his days crouched in the corner. Meanwhile, uncaring passersby would toss garbage, scraps, or even alcohol at him. Khai Now was weak, filthy, and unbearably lonely.
When Tom Taylor from WFFT arrived on the scene to survey the situation in preparation for a rescue, Khai Now was crouched in a ball, hiding his face. What unfolded next is truly heartbreaking.
Taylor approached the macaque. Khai Now reached his small hand through the wire mesh and grasped Taylor’s finger, desperate for company. At last, here was a kind soul who cared. Taylor took several photos of the interaction.
He stood by for a while, talking to Khai Now and giving him water to drink.
Not long after, they had brought Khai Now to the WFFT sanctuary where he would be given a second chance at life. At last, his days of awful neglect were over. Life at the sanctuary allowed Khai Now to reveal that he has a tender side, though years of anguish had left their mark. He was malnourished and suffered from behavioral problems, due to isolation.
“Macaques are highly social monkeys and tactile communication is a vital part of their societies, grooming, playing, hugging, they need social interaction with their own species,” Taylor told The Dodo.
“There are numerous benefits of social grooming including improved hygiene, the release of endorphins and the reduction of stress.”
It will take some time before Khai Now is ready to be reintroduced to other macaques again. In the meantime, though, he has a large enclosure at the sanctuary with plenty of room for climbing, and plenty of fresh fruit to enjoy.
“Khai Now is a gentle soul,” Taylor added. “He wanted nothing more than to groom me, or hold me for comfort.
“It never ceases to amaze that animals such as Khai Now can still have some level of trust in humans after seeing what we have done to them.”
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Sad monkey, kept in a tiny cage with no light for 25 YEARS, was finally rescued and released!