"Is it another garbage bin?!" was the first question that came to our minds as we encountered the dreadful scene. We slowed down, took a closer look, and no, even though it was dark, we weren't hallucinating! What we saw was real, and alive. He just sat there, swinging back and forth, incessantly, in the smallest possible encasement that could ever fit him. He could barely turn in the same spot; he couldn't lie down or rest his body. All he had was a thin metal bar that served as a chair and only place he could rest his bones.
Yes, it was a living soul in there, one that could breathe, think, and feel. It was a real baboon, a primate thrown out behind a garbage bin, in an atrocious tiny cage. His prison was not only tiny, but transformed into yet another garbage bin, full of trash bags, empty cans, and dirty tissues, full of garbage. How cruel, how heartless, how inhumane can a person be to behave in such a way?
No one had even considered feeding or helping him, or taking him out of this cage and this miserable state and location. Nay, people were disposing of their garbage onto him, and into his cage. The pugnacious smell filled his head, and lulled him into sedation. He was not only a prisoner, but was condemned to the nastiest, dirtiest, and tiniest cell in existence. We couldn't believe what we were seeing! The baboon - the species of primate whose brain resembles one closest to a human one - was clearly going insane, probably wondering why and what the hell he did to deserve such treatment, such cruel imprisonment and detention for five full years, and such a slow and painful death!! Yes five full years! We were told by some people in the area that Tom (we called him Tom) has been there for a full five years, confined to the same cage and same shocking experience, being occasionally provided with food and water. This claim could easily be substantiated by the fact that only an extremely small door was the exit point to the cage.
Tom was put there at a very young age, and has never been out since. Even if someone had ever intended to free him, the cage's bars needed to be broken - and Tom would not be able to escape his confinement through that little door. He had been trapped inside his steel prison for long, too long. Days, months and seasons had passed, and Tom had to endure the cold rain, and the burning sun. Boredom filled his eyes, soul and body. The only thing he wanted, besides food, water and basic sustenance, is to get out of his cage, at least for one minute! He wanted to smell a tree, to hold a hand, to climb and to eat. The distressed look on his face touched the very depths of our hearts!
Our first and natural reaction was to bring him food and water. With all these apples, bananas, peanuts, and water being thrown at him all of a sudden, his excitement told the entire story of how he was feeling - utter disbelief that someone's heart had finally softened to him.
After an hour spent around this poor animal, we were forced to leave. We had to abandon him, but only temporarily! A group of three girls, we were unequipped to immediately get the monkey out of there. But we came back to Tom's rescue only a few hours later, bringing along a group of four guys to carry the cage and a truck, allowing us to transport him to a safe location. We decided, after consulting our vet, to move Tom along with his cage and free him at a later time. His behavior would surely be unpredictable due to the frustration he has potentially been fostering.
The question of whether he belonged to someone lingered in our minds. Had he in fact belonged to someone, it would most probably be a "sick" someone who wanted to keep the animal there, prolong and enjoy the monkey's suffering and prevent anyone else from bringing an end to this cruel act!!!
Tom was carefully moved, still inside his cage, to another safe location. What is more, everyone was pleasantly surprised to find out that Tom wasn't aggressive and scared at all. On the contrary, all he did was hang his hand out through one of the openings in the cage, trying to touch one of the guys who kept him company in the back of the truck. For an hour, Tom held the guy's hand and wouldn't let go. It seems that he felt that he was finally safe; he knew freedom was within reach.
Tom is now under BETA's custody, waiting to be released into a natural environment, at a wildlife shelter in Lebanon, (the sole shelter of such a kind in Lebanon - location cannot be disclosed due to security reasons). However, in order to be provided with this "temporary boarding", Tom urgently needs your help. Funds are needed immediately to finalize the construction of a much bigger space, one that would be adaptive to the environmental conditions required by a monkey.
Because Tom will not stay there forever! We would never leave him confined to a cage! BETA's team will do its best to send Tom on a long but beautiful trip to an international primate rescue facility abroad. There, Tom will join many of his friends and live the life he deserves. It will be a life of freedom, with trees to climb, and friends to talk to, delicious food, and girls to court! It is a genuine monkey paradise!
Please help us complete our rescue, and call it a "successful" one. Please help us in our double objective: NOW - with building Tom's temporary home; and LATER - with the cost of transporting him abroad.
Finally, please help us keep our pro-life policy, which requires an ethical environment for our family members - our animals.
To donate online, please go to: http://animals.beirut.com/donate.php For other donations means, kindly email BETA at
Tom is counting on you! He knows you are the ones to give him a better life!