Arun Rangsi on arrival

Arun Rangsi on arrival from the cancer lab in 1981.

Maybe you’ve seen those heartbreaking photos of tiny monkey babies being raised in a lab, clinging desperately to a wire “mother.” Such cruel old experiments confirmed that all primates—human and nonhuman alike—need love and affection to grow up normally.

Sadly, that was how our own Arun Rangsi spent his early life. Born in a cancer lab in California in 1979, this little gibbon was rejected by his mother within a week. He was placed on a wire surrogate mom and tattooed with “HLA-98” in blue on his chest. He suffered repeated bouts of illness for almost two years.

Then, as luck would have it, the cancer lab lost its funding and the lab director was reduced to cleaning his own gibbon cages. Arun Rangsi, underweight and sickly, was threatened with euthanasia.

That’s when we got a call from a concerned lab employee—and stepped in to rescue this poor little fellow. We had him flown from California to our sanctuary in the lush Lowcountry of South Carolina, which IPPL established in 1977. We gave him his Thai Buddhist name, which means “The Rising Sun of Dawn.”

He arrived at IPPL on his second birthday–August 9, 1981–exactly 30 years ago today!

With lots of love and care, Arun Rangsi grew strong and healthy. At IPPL, he had the opportunity to enjoy a companion and raise a family.

Now, decades later, he still lives with his long-time mate Shanti (another lab gibbon) at our sanctuary, surrounded by dozens of gibbon neighbors. Their happy whoops echo among the Carolina pines.