Gibbon Won't Leave The Side Of Her New Rescued Baby 'Sister'

“She is always sweet with all animals at the hospital."

Jub-Jib the gibbon hasn’t been able to take her eyes off of Pearl, a baby macaque who recently arrived at a rescue center and hospital run by Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT). From the moment Pearl arrived, Jub-Jib has followed her and her caretaker everywhere they go.

Gibbon sitting above baby macaque
Jub-Jib watching a caretaker feed Pearl milk through a syringe | WFFT

“She [Jub-Jib] is always sweet with all animals at the hospital,” Fiona Burness, public relations and social media manager at WFFT, told The Dodo. “She is very friendly and curious [about] everything around her.”

Gibbon and dog regarding each other
Jub-JIb checking out the resident dog at the rescue center | WFFT

Jub-Jib, who is now 16 years old, came to live at the rescue center and hospital last year. Fifteen years before that, Jub-Jib lived in the forest with her mom — but she lost her mom in a very traumatizing way.

“Just over 15 years ago Jub-Jib was living with her family high in the tree canopy in Thailand’s biggest national park, Kaeng Krachan, which is part of one of the biggest intact stretches of tropical evergreen forest in mainland Southeast Asia,” WFFT said last year. “This area creates a natural border between Thailand and Myanmar. We are told that during a battle between armed forces from Thailand and Burma [Myanmar] her mother was shot and killed while Jub-Jib was clinging onto her.”

Gibbon after being rescued
A rescuer offering Jub-Jib some water shortly after her rescue last year | WFFT

When her mother fell from the tree and tumbled to the ground, Jub-Jib fell with her, which left Jub-Jib with a bad head injury. But this was just the beginning.

Instead of going to a licensed sanctuary, the soldiers gave Jub-Jib to a local couple who’d previously had a pet gibbon — and for the next 15 years, the couple kept Jub-Jib inside their house, feeding her human foods and making her wear a diaper.

Person holding hand of rescued gibbon
A caretaker with Jub-Jib after her rescue | WFFT

But the couple didn’t give Jub-Jib the care she needed. By the time WFFT rescued her last year, Jub-Jib was emaciated, sickly and dazed. In fact, the team at WFFT deemed Jub-Jib’s rescue “one of the most harrowing cases of animal cruelty” they’d ever seen.

“The alarm bells started to ring as her owners said they had given her some ‘off the market’ strong sleeping tablets to help her relax for the journey to WFFT,” a spokesperson for WFFT wrote on Facebook last year. “They then informed us that once the side effects from this drug had worn off, she would seem like a ‘normal gibbon,' climbing and walking around. This could not be further from the truth .... She moved out of the cage like an old geriatric lady. A gibbon of 15 years should be in her prime, strong, confident and happy, not looking like she is at death’s door.”

Woman offering rescue gibbon a banana
Jub-Jib after being rescued | WFFT

Since her rescue, the team at WFFT has helped Jub-Jib grow strong and healthy, although she will probably never be able to be released back into the wild. Instead, she’s become a long-term resident at the WFFT rescue center, and she keeps herself busy by checking out all of the other animals at the center, including the dogs and cats and other gibbons.

Baby gibbon touching adult gibbon
Jub-Jib interacting with one of the baby gibbons at the rescue center | WFFT

Her latest obsession is baby Pearl, who is a long-tailed macaque.

Gibbon reaching hand out to touch baby macaque
Jub-Jib reaching out to touch Pearl | WFFT

Like Jub-Jib, Pearl had a rough start in life. While no one really knows what happened to Pearl’s mom, wildlife traffickers probably killed her in order to take Pearl, who is only a few weeks old, into captivity and sell her as a pet.

Man holding rescued baby macaque
Pearl shortly after she was rescued | WFFT

Eventually, Pearl ended up at a night market in Pattaya, Thailand, and last month, a man bought her for 900 Baht (about $28). The man took Pearl home and fed her mashed-up banana to keep her alive, but after 10 days, he decided to surrender her to WFFT, along with a slow loris he was also keeping as a pet.

Baby macaque wrapped up in blanket
Pearl tasting a leaf at the rescue center | WFFT

Pearl is in good hands now, but she still misses her mom.

“For the moment, Pearl still cries from the loss and lack of her mother's care,” a spokesperson for WFFT wrote on Facebook. “She is holding teddies like she should have done with her mom. She wants to be warm, to feel safe, loved.”

Baby macaques playing leaves
Pearl and another baby macaque hiding in leaves at the rescue center | WFFT

But at least she has some comfort in her new adopted sister, Jub-Jib. Since Pearl's arrival, the gibbon has been hanging around caretakers whenever they care for baby Pearl.

Gibbon watching woman feed baby macaque

Photos show her waiting by a caretaker's feet as the woman cuddles Pearl, and staring into Pearl's eyes as she's fed with a syringe.

Gibbon watching baby macaque get fed

Of course, Jub-Jib's interest might not be entirely selfless — one photo shows her trying to steal a taste of baby Pearl's meal. “Wherever food is, Jub-Jib is sure to follow,” WFFT wrote on Facebook.

Gibbon trying to lick milk from syringe
Jub-Jib trying to lick some of the milk from Pearl's syringe | WFFT

But WFFT is confident that, after befriending so many other animals at the sanctuary, Jub-Jib just wants to make a new friend — and that on some level, the older ape understands what the baby is going through.

Gibbon watching baby macaque

Another photo shows Pearl nestled into her caretaker's lab, while Jub-Jib gently reaches out to place her hand on both of them.

Gibbon looking up at baby macaque

“She is very sweet with baby Pearl,” Tom Taylor, general manager at WFFT, told The Dodo.

To help Pearl and the other rescued animals get strong and healthy, you can make a donation to WFFT.