Good-bye, Arun Rangsi (The Rising Sun of Dawn)
Animal Stories from


Shirley McGreal, IPPL International Primate Protection League
December 2018

IPPL is devastated to report the loss of our first lab gibbon, who was also my 'heart gibbon.'"


IPPL is devastated to report the loss of our first lab gibbon, who was also my “heart gibbon.” He came to IPPL from the University of California, which used gibbons in viral cancer experiments that caused them great suffering and death.

The baby gibbon was born at the lab, and his mother rejected him. He was tattooed with the number HL-98 and raised with a swinging wire surrogate mother. Poor little guy! He had many illnesses during his first two years of life, including two bouts of pneumonia and two episodes of dysentery. But he survived.

Finally good news! The lab lost its National Cancer Institute funding. Fifty five gibbons needed homes. Ardith Eudey, co-founder of IPPL, got a tipoff that HL-98 might be killed as he was said to be “metabolically abnormal” and “mentally retarded.”

IPPL stepped in. Our Thai friend Katie Buri asked the monks at Wat Arun in Bangkok to select a name for him and they chose “Arun Rangsi,” which means “The Rising Sun of Dawn.” Katie sent funds for his care. We notified the lab director of this offer and got a reply saying, “Rather than spend the money on this ridiculous adoption, I’ll spend it on his one-way ticket to you!”

We jumped for joy at the offer and started making plans. Our friends at the Animal Protection Institute kindly went to the lab to collect him. The next morning they put him on a flight to Atlanta.

My friend Kit Woodcock offered to accompany me and we drove through driving rain 300 miles to Atlanta, The plane had just landed when we reached the cargo area. I asked the staffer to call the pilot to ask if there was a gibbon on board and were told, “No, but we have a chimpanzee.”
Soon we were on the road driving home to Summerville. Kit sat in the back seat feeding the little gibbon grapes.


When we got to Summerville, we found out that the poor little guy banged his head constantly. A local psychiatrist suggested I bang my head along with him, and I did, and it worked. He started to grow and we found him a mate, Shanti, kindly sent to us by LEMSIP, a New York lab that was phasing out gibbons. The pair got along very well and became parents and took great care of their offspring. The first baby was Ahimsa.

They lived happily together for over three decades but, two weeks ago, Arun Rangsi suddenly fell ill and refused to eat or drink. We did a ton of tests, but nothing helped. We believe it was a pancreas problem and he underwent many tests and an ultrasound.

Sadly we put him to sleep on the afternoon of 19 December. He was 39 years old.

We will miss this sweet little ape and so will Shanti. Will she bond with another gibbon? That remains to be seen. 

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