When a veterinarian stopped at a gas station in Bangkok, Thailand, what he saw broke his heart.
A small macaque was sitting all alone on a metal pole. Hanging around its neck was a heavy chain. Tang Mo, meaning “watermelon,” had lived that way for five years.
“Tang Mo was kept at a gas station in downtown Bangkok. Chained up, this poor guy had no way to hide from people, pollution or extreme temperatures,” the Friends of Wildlife Foundation of Thailand (WFFT) writes.
“Bought as a pet when he was a tiny baby five years ago, he was likely caught straight out of the wild, witnessing the killing of his family, or at least his mother.”
The vet talked to the little macaque’s owners and convinced them that such a life was not for the animal. He then contacted WFFT, who immediately dispatched rescuers.
Unfortunately, what Tang Mo experienced is all too common, as natural macaque habitats are being destroyed. And the proximity to humans is causing more and more macaques to be taken from the wild and kept as pets.
But Tang Mo’s time spent chained and alone had to come to an end. Rescuers arrived and took him to the WFFT rescue center.
“When the rescuers arrived, the first task was to remove the chain, which was very tight around his neck,” WFFT writes. “After we removed the chain, a full health check was performed.”
Fortunately, Tang Mo is relatively healthy, considering all he’s been through. But the emotional damage will take some time to heal.
“Little Tang Mo has mental scars from years of solitary confinement,” WFFT writes, “but in time he will be able to overcome some of them.
When he is ready, Tang Mo will join the other macaques.
In the meantime, he is comforted by the fact that he is safe – and will never be confined again.