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Meet Tam and Ramthai - Khiri Reach's Sponsored Gibbons

06 Jun 2018

For the past few years Khiri Reach has not only encouraged others to join the efforts to save and rehabilitate many precious White Handed Gibbons, but to adopt and volunteer too.

The Gibbon Rehabilitation Project in Phuket has been operating for over 20 years and is not only fighting to keep one of Phuket's iconic symbols alive and in the wild where they belong, but also to keep their independant charity foundation up and running too. They care for many other rescued or injured animals like Lemurs, the Slow Loris and more but the costs of medicine are high and so are visits to the vets.

The work they do is imperative to the survival of these unique apes and the only chance of keeping a wild population in existence. They educate locals and tourists on how they can help be part of the solution and advocate against the wildlifepet trade and the use of animals as Photo Props.

I would like to introduce you to 'our' 2 ladies who we 'adopt' on a yearly basis to ensure they get the food and medical supplies they need - these are their stories and their current situation. If you want to help in any way too then please see our project page.

Meet Tam

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Tam() was born in the wild in 1994, she is a permanent resident at GRP due to her physical disabilities. Tam was previously kept as a pet and when her wild instincts caused her to disagree with her human owner he beat her and left the resulting injuries untreated for too long. By the time Tam received help, the only way to save her from dying of blood poisoning from the infected wounds, was to amputate a hand and a foot. Subsequently her new owners tried to house her with other gibbons – an attempt that failed when Tam was attacked and lost 3 fingers on her remaining hand. Shortly after this event Tam was brought to the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project, in December 2002.
 
Despite all this, Tam gets on with her life as everyone else. She is housed in a double set of small cages, instead of a large one as she needs the support from the mesh to manoeuvre around. Constantly using the two fingers on her one hand causes some skin irritations, so volunteers and staff apply baby powder and lotion on a daily basis to avoid infection. Tam does not always cooperate with this procedure, but for her own good, patient cares persevere by grooming her until she allows the treatment. Tam remains one of the definite favourites at our Rehabilitation site.
 
Tam also has an edge to her and although she loves to spend time with her best friend Bo (), she is lacking in social skills and has given him some nasty bites in the past. It would seem only natural that she would easily distrust both people and other gibbons, given her traumatic past. However, she is normally a very cheerful gibbon who fully joins in all the daily activities at our Rehabilitation site and she is one of the loudest singers onsite. 
 

Meet Ramthai

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Sawasdee ka or Hello. My name is Rumthai () I was born wild in 2001. GRP staff said that when I was brought into the GRP, I was one of the most distressing cases they have ever seen. Before luckily arrived at GRP, I had been cruelty kept inside a tiny birdcage with virtually no room to move, my spine and arms were deformed and that how got extremely small and weak. I also suffers from a degenerative condition called Kyphoscoliosis syndrome, probably caused by a blunt trauma to my spine when I still clinging to my dead mother, fell down from the treetops as a tiny infant. Shooting the mother gibbon is the only way poachers can get hold of a baby gibbon for the pet trade.

Despite all of my problems, I soon showed GRP staff what a survivor I am. After a new home and care from staff, I soon gained strength and started brachiating a little, although I have always preferred to pick things up with my feet. From an early age I was able to enjoy the company of other gibbons. Because of her ability to make friends and socialize, I am a well-adjusted female who despite all her physical problems is psychologically healthy.

Unfortunately, to the best of GRP rehabilitation program so far, I will not be able to live in the wild and as I matured, they had to separate me from others as they are afraid I would not survive a pregnancy nor would I be able to carry a baby. My physical health has always been fragile and over the years. I have struggled with skin and fur problems and in addition I have always been a very picky eater.

For the past few years they house me at our Wildlife Rest Center, next to my good friend Jep () - the two of us get a lot of comfort from each other. I clearly enjoy life next to my good friend Jep a gibbon I have grown up with at the GRP. Despite my small stature I most definitely has the biggest voice of all the gibbons currently residing in the Wildlife Rest Centre.