6 min read

Sad Gibbon Spent Her Whole Life Raised As A Human Child

"We hope she will regain her voice after being mute for over a decade."

When fighting broke out between people on the border between Thailand and Burma 15 years ago, one of the victims was a white-handed gibbon sitting high up in a tree with her family.

It’s said that the gibbon fell over 100 feet after being accidentally shot and killed — when her lifeless body landed on the ground, people discovered a tiny baby still clinging to her.

Gibbon rescued from being kept as a pet
WFFT

The baby was handed over to a couple who had had another wild gibbon as a pet who had died. The baby gibbon, who suffered from head injuries, became the couple’s new project. 

Years passed. The baby gibbon was kept in a house, fed human food and forced to wear diapers. She suffered from epileptic seizures related to the fall she had had while clinging to her mom. She was called Jub Jib.

Gibbon saved from being kept in a house
WFFT

"Jub Jib then spent the next 15 years kept inside a house, being treated like human baby,” Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT) wrote. And this week, the rescue organization inherited this sad animal after the owners didn’t want her anymore.

Rescuer plays with sad captive gibbon

"When she arrived at WFFT yesterday we saw an emaciated sad little soul, in a rather dazed state,” WFFT wrote

Gibbon kept as a pet gets a drink of water after rescue
WFFT

Rescuers soon learned more details about Jub Jib’s life as a human baby. "Her owners said they had given her some ‘off the market’ strong sleeping tablets to help her relax for the journey to WFFT,” WFFT wrote. "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.”

Rescuer feeds sad gibbon
WFFT

Jub Jib should be in her prime at 15 years old. But her behavior shocked rescuers on the second day at the rescue center. "She moved out of the cage like an old geriatric lady ... looking like she is at death's door,” the rescue wrote. “Walking on grass or gravel terrified her.” Jub Jib was only used to walking on concrete. 

Rescued gibbon sniffs leaves
WFFT

"It is likely that this is first time ... she had felt the natural sunlight on her skin,” WFFT wrote. "This to be one of the most harrowing cases of animal cruelty inflicted by the misjudgment of someone who claimed to love this gibbon, they were slowly killing her.”

Gibbon rescued from captivity explores sanctuary
WFFT

More chilling details came out. Jub Jib cannot climb — indeed she can barely walk. Severely malnourished, she can’t even grasp with her hands and has to be fed bits of banana by her rescuers. 

Gibbon saved from being a pet
WFFT

It turns out that, over the years, her owners treated her epilepsy with antidepressants meant for humans. Jub Jib suffered from side effects of the drugs, like confusion and nausea. "We would assume that she is currently addicted to the drug as she has been fed it for years, [so] taking her off them right away may lead to some more severe problems,” WFFT wrote. “She is basically a drug addict.” 

Rescued white-handed gibbon
WFFT

But there is a faint light of hope in Jub Jib's dismal life story: She will have a lifelong home at the rescue center, with people who truly care about her.

Rescued gibbon sniffs the grass
WFFt

Wild gibbons often sing as they swing from the treetops. But rescuers have observed that, so far, Jub Jib is totally mute. 

"We are yet to hear her sing,” the rescue wrote, "but as she starts to see and hear the other gibbons at WFFT we hope she will regain her voice after being mute for over a decade."

Rescuer pets gibbon saved from being a pet
WFFT
To help WFFT give Jub Jib — along with the other rescued animals at the sanctuary — the live she deserves, you can make a donation