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A Sincere Speedy Recovery
for Samby

Girls, in our "Rose of the North" city of Chiangmai have the reputation of being the fairest and most beautiful in all Thailand. We are certainly not going to disagree with that, however, we do concede that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But there is one Chiangmai girl who is admired by all who meet her and loved by many indeed, many would love to invite her to their home. There is no doubt about her lovability, charm and popularity. Her name is Samby; she is 24 years old and a real heartbreaker. Samby's handwriting is a bit tricky to decipher but it looks like "Samby". Her address is quite clear the large establishment on the left at the short of Huay Kaew Road. It's Chiang Mai Zoo and Samby is the zoo's wonderful, beautiful, female orangutan.

Unfortunately, at the moment Samby is "Mai Sabai" (not well) and we are all a bit concerned about her welfare. No one is more concerned than Samby's adoring keeper and he was telling us something of Samby's background. Born on 30 January 1979, in the rainforests of Indonesia, Samby migrated to Thailand (where she became a naturalized Thai citizen) and took up residence at Dusit Zoo in Bangkok. Life and accommodation in Bangkok was just fine but, on her 13th birthday in 1992, Samby and a young male orangutan named Sam (was a romance involved?) took a flight north as they'd decided Chiang Mai Zoo was the place to be.

Since that time, Samby has entertained and delighted visitors to the Chiang Mai Zoo she's incredibly affectionate and loves to be hugged and cuddled and, as with most girls, she loves having her photograph taken so she will either pout seductively or give a wide, toothy grin for the camera. Samby's keeper said that Orangutan is a Malay word (meaning "Person of the Forest") and that these large primates are exclusive to the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. With mans' destruction of the rainforest through logging, the orangutan's environment has been catastrophically reduced with the result there are, perhaps, only a few thousand orangutans living in the wild. Orangutan Foundation International, and many world zoos, have provided alternate environments for many refugee orangutans. They are shy, tree-dwelling creatures with a lively intelligence (they use tools in daily life and have developed their own culture) and, although they have great strength, they are not aggressive towards other animals (including humans) except in defense of themselves or their young. Also, orangutans can live to a good age Perth Zoo (Australia) shelters a fine lady of 46 years.

Our Samby, at 24 years, is in mature middle age so it is worrying when her health isn't as it should be. Since the beginning of last month (August 2003), Samby cannot walk and zoo veterinarians diagnosed that she may have a spinal problem perhaps a slipped disc (it's not just us humans that get a "bad back"). It may be that an operation is required although acupuncture and physiotherapy are initially being tried. Samby is proving to be a model patient and shows great spirit, calmness and positive focus during her treatment.

Samby has her own wheel-chair and each day, after she rises at 9.30 am., is taken to a grassy area for breakfast. She plays and cuddles with her keeper. She likes to snack about five times a day and her favorites include apples, peaches, plums, oranges and mangosteens. Samby is also very partial to a bowl of corn soup, or a cup of NesVita, which are provided as dietary supplements. At around 2.45 pm. Samby returns to her residence for physiotherapy she shows great willingness and co-operation to those she knows are trying to help and then a snooze if she's feeling tired.

Samby continues to welcome visitors but her veterinarians request that groups be kept small and quiet (as to any hospital patient's bedside) so at not to overtire or cause stress to Samby.

We do hope Samby, our dear Chiangmai girl, that you'll quickly be back to your old self. We wish you a sincere Get Well Soon as we know your anxious keeper and veterinarians are doing all they can to help. We look forward to seeing you again when we next visit Chiang Mai Zoo.

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