Welcome to GRP’s 2016 Newsletter
Contributing writer and editor: Melissa Spearman
Head editor: GRP Staff
July 2016 (Volume 15 Issue 6)
Gibbon Rehabilitation Project (Phuket): GRP
Crystal and Khun-Saul
As reported in May’s newsletter, Crystal was initially released back in April with one of our male gibbons, Willy. The couple had been progressing well since their release and GRP were confident that this couple was going to thrive in their new forest home. However, at the end of June, GRP staff had reported that Crystal had been arriving at the food baskets alone and Willy had not been seen for a few days. As the couple were still new to the forest and had only been released around 2 months previously, both staff and volunteers were concerned. GRP staff embarked on a search and rescue mission, to see if Willy was lost in the forest and could not find his way back to Crystal. However, after several trips, Willy had still not been found.
Despite Willy’s disappearance, Crystal was continuing to do well in the forest and GRP staff were reluctant to return Crystal to our rehabilitation site. However, staff agreed that Crystal, although confident in her forest home, would be unable to stay in the forest by herself. As time went on and Willy, despite continued efforts, had still not been found, GRP decided to pair up Crystal with another male gibbon, using a slightly new approach. A new male gibbon would be fast tracked into the release programme, by placing him into Willy and Crystal’s old acclimatisation cage, whilst keeping Crystal in the surrounding forest. Much deliberation went into deciding which male should be paired with Crystal, however staff quickly agreed that Khun-Saul, a confident and older male who had previously been released, would be an ideal candidate.
At present, the pairing seems to be a great success. Crystal is often seen going to the acclimatisation cage to spend time grooming and playing with Khun-Saul and the pair are even sharing food! We hope that Crystal and Khun-Saul will continue on their path to success and we hope Khun-Saul will be able to join Crystal in the wild soon!
GRP are continuing their searches for Willy and we will keep you updated if further progress is made.
We are happy to report that one of our long term residents, Bobo, has been given a bigger and better home! Although Bobo seemed to be happy in his cage in our Rest site, GRP staff and volunteers decided that Bobo, who unfortunately cannot be released, deserved a bigger enclosure. Bobo has now been moved to our Rehab site and although initially nervous of the move, can now be seen swinging happily around his enclosure. We hope that this new bigger home will improve Bobo’s confidence and provide a better life for him!
Another of our residents, Endoo has also benefitted from Bobo’s move and has been given a bigger enclosure! After a thorough clean, Endoo has now been given access to both her cage and Bobo’s old cage. Endoo has been very excited about her bigger home and can often be seen jumping from cage to cage!
GRP’s Rehab site has received a new resident this month from The Wild Animal Rescue and Education Centre (WARED) in Ranong, a beautiful black gibbon named Dummy. Dummy, although initially weary of our male staff and volunteers has quickly become accustomed to his new home and can often be heard singing loudly throughout the day. Dummy is a strong and healthy 14 year old male and GRP hope that he can one day be released.
Guinness and Nuan
Guinness and Nuan have now been reunited! The pair has quickly fallen back into their old ways and can often be seen playing and singing together. Both staff and volunteers are happy to see the pair reunited and often enjoy watching the couple swinging happily around their enclosure.
Phuket Town Walking Street Market
July has been another exciting month at GRP with many events taking place. GRP returned to the Phuket Town Walking Street Market again this month to raise awareness about the illegal wildlife trade and to raise money. All volunteers were able to take part this month and enjoyed singing and dancing to the live music at the market! Both locals and tourists showed great interest in our market stall and were very supportive of our cause! GRP are very grateful for all the generous donations received, and as always look forward to returning to the market next month!
BIS Visit to Education Centre
GRP’s education centre at the Bang Pae Waterfall, has been busy this month and were lucky enough to receive a visit from the British International School! The students spent the day trekking through the rainforest at Khao Phea Theaw non hunting area, looking for gibbons and other rainforest animals before returning to our education centre to learn more about gibbons and conservation. Although most of our gibbons had fallen asleep by the time the students had finished their trek, the students still enjoyed seeing the gibbons and learning more about them! We look forward to their next visit and hope to inspire more young people to learn about conservation!
GRP are continuing its educational campaigns throughout the Thai school season and have visited over 10 schools in July! Both staff and volunteers have worked very hard to ensure that the visits are both educational and entertaining for the students by using games and songs to help teach the students about conservation. We look forward to visiting more schools in the following months!
June 2016 (Volume 15 Issue 6)
Gibbon Rehabilitation Project (Phuket): GRP
Forest Gibbons updated
GRP were able to return to the forest this month to check up on some of our wild gibbons! The heavy rain throughout May and June had made it difficult to visit our wild gibbons however, towards the end of June GRP were finally able to take a trip to the forest. The staff and volunteers went out to the forest to search for Namthip and family but unfortunately were not able to see them this time. However, the team did find lots of forest fruits on the floor which had been foraged by our wild gibbons. This is great news, and shows that this family is continuing to thrive in the forest.
Epson and Sylvia: Our last newsletter reported that Epson and Sylvia had not always been coming to the feeding basket for food and were often arriving late for feeding time. We are happy to report that the couple are continuing to do well and learning to rely more and more on the forest for their food, especially now that rainy season is in full swing! We have decided to reduce this couple’s daily food again and are very excited about how quickly this couple is progressing!
Arun, Toffee and the baby: Pra Theaw: After many years of waiting Arun and Toffee’s baby has now been named! Although GRP are still unsure of the gender of the baby, the little gibbon will now be named Pra Theaw. The name was chosen to honor the Khao Pra Theaw Non-Hunting Area in Phuket, for all their hard work and commitment to the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project in Phuket. Pha Theaw is the name of the mountains and also as Non-Hunting Area which GRP located to reintroduction and we hope it will be a fitting name for the baby gibbon!
Other Animals and Gibbons updated
Mai and Tony: GRP are always looking to pair up our gibbons that cannot be released to make sure they are getting the social interaction that they need. A few months ago we decided to partially open up the connecting tunnel between our resident gibbons Mai and Tony. We were initially weary of this pairing as Mai and Tony are both mature males, a friendship which would not usually occur in the wild. However, Tony and Mai have proven to be a huge success! Tony and Mai often spend the whole day playing together and are now firm friends.
Jep, Rumthai and the Langurs: It is exciting times at the Bang Pae Waterfall this year, with building works taking place to improve facilities for both tourists and staff! This is great news for all the visitors at the Park, however, the noise from the building works had upset the langurs in our Rest site. To reduce the stress to the langurs during this time, the staffs decided that they would move the langurs to a quieter location within our rest site. The decision was made to move our calmer residents Rumthai and Jep to the langurs old cages. The langurs and the gibbons are now very happy in their new homes. Rumthai and Jep are now enjoying being able to watch all the food preparation in the kitchen, whilst the langurs have returned to their old happy selves!
Muki: We are extremely saddened to report that in June, we lost one of our much-loved residents, Muki. During rainy season it is easier for gibbons to become ill and although GRP staff and volunteers are extra observant during this time, Muki fell ill with an unknown respiratory bug. GRP gave Muki round the clock care but were unable to improve his condition. Muki was a firm favourite of both volunteers and staff alike and he will be sorely missed.
Guinness and Nuan: As mentioned in our previous newsletter, long term friends, Guinness and Nuan have been temporarily separated in order to improve the condition of Guinness’s cage. We are happy to report that Guinness will be moving back with his friend soon! Although Guinness is proving hard to capture, the GRP team are looking forward to reuniting the friends and seeing the pair grooming and playing with each other again!
Gibbon Rehabilitation Project (Chiang Mai): GRPC
Annie and Aye Aye: Our last newsletter reported that the GRPC staff were busy building an acclimatisation cage for its newest arrivals, however, a decision was yet to be made to which gibbon couple would be the first to be released; Annie & Aye Aye or Champ and Mee? GRPC are now happy to report that Annie and Aye Aye will be the first couple to be released! Annie and Aye Aye have now been moved to the acclimatisation cage in their new forest home and are due to be released in the beginning of July.
Champ, Mee and New Baby: We are extremely happy to announce that Mee has given birth to a healthy and happy baby boy! In the past, Mee had a very bad experience with pregnancy when she was with her former partner, Payu. Mee, as a first time mother had given births to twins. This is an extremely rare occurrence in gibbons and was the first time the staff had heard of a gibbon giving birth to twins. Mee was unable to cope with the demands the two babies required and unfortunately the young gibbons died. After the babies had died, Payu left Mee and found a new partner, which led to Mee being recaptured and paired with Champ, now moved to GRPC. We are happy to report that Mee and her new partner Champ have had much greater success and the new baby is doing very well. The baby has now been named after the village in Chiang Mai where he was born, “Pang Champee”. We are extremely grateful to all the hard work this village has done for the project and their passion to help the gibbons. And hopes we can show our appreciation to the village by naming the new gibbon “Pang Champee”!
World Environment Day: GRP were lucky enough to take part in World Environment Day in Phuket Town this year. This was a worldwide event which aimed to teach children about how humans negatively impact the environment and how we can look after it. The GRP team was very grateful to be a part of such a large event and had a lot of fun teaching the children about gibbons.
School Visits: GRP has continued its educational campaign in schools this June, with great success! GRP staff and volunteers have worked extremely hard to make sure that their lessons are both educational and entertaining for the students. The volunteers have had a great time visiting the Thai schools and learning more about Thai culture. Volunteers have also proven to be a huge hit with the students, with one volunteer even being asked for an autograph! GRP is hoping to visit more schools in the future and continue the fun!
Walking Street Market: As a new monthly tradition, GRP returned to the Walking Street Market in Phuket Town this June. The market stall gained a lot of interest by shoppers, with many giving generous donations. Some market shoppers even came to visit our education centre the following week to learn more about our gibbons! The GRP team had a lot of fun at the market, dancing to the live music with our gibbon dolls and donation boxes! Both staff and volunteers are looking forward to the next market.
May 2016 (Volume 15 Issue 5)
Gibbon Rehabilitation Project (Phuket): GRP
Forest Gibbons updated
Crystal and Willy: Following Crystal and Willy’s release on the 21st of April, we are glad to report that the couple is progressing well! The GRP team monitored the couple’s first few weeks back in the wild and initial observations were encouraging; with the two gibbons foraging in the wild and moving around their new forest home with ease. Although Willy still tends to stay low to the ground, the couple has expanded their range and has started exploring further into the forest. The couple has even been seen exploring GRP’s forest campsite! Crystal and Willy now rarely return to their cage to relax or sleep, relying more and more on their new forest home. We hope that they will continue to grow in confidence and continue to adapt to their new home. The GRP team has now stopped observations of Crystal and Willy and currently only visit the couple to feed them in the morning and check up.
Epson and Sylvia: Epson and Sylvia continue to grow in confidence in their forest environment and are showing signs of relying less on human intervention. Epson and Sylvia are no longer waiting for their daily feed at the food basket and often arrive late for feeding! Because of this we have now reduced the amount of food Epson and Sylvia receive daily. Recently, the couple has been observed travelling further and further through the forest and has even been seen near the rubber plantations singing with our gibbons in the rehabilitation site! GRP are confident that couple will be very successful in their new home and will continue to thrive.
Arun, Toffee and Baby: Arun and family continue to do well in their forest home and are often seen by staff relaxing and playing in their forest home. Some lucky tourists have even spotted the family close to Bang Pae waterfall! This adventurous family has also been found close to their new neighbours Crystal and Willy. Arun, who was attracted by Crystal and Willy’s singing, went to check out his new neighbours, and although he kept a safe distance, seemed very curious of his new friends!
Other Animals and Gibbons updated
Jojo and Lumduan: In our rehabilitation site we had previously paired Tunda and Lumduan together in the hopes that one day they would become a successful mating pair. At first the pairing seemed successful, however, during feeding time the two gibbons showed signs of aggression towards one another and were often seen fighting. As a result of this, the decision was made to separate Lumduan and Tunda. Tunda has now been moved to his own bigger enclosure and is very happy in his new home, often seen swinging on his bamboo and trying new tricks! The GRP team is now hoping to pair Lumduan with another of our male gibbons; Jojo, in the hopes that this pairing will be more successful. Lumduan and Jojo are currently in adjacent enclosures and seem very curious of each other!
A few of our residents in the rehabilitation site have been given new homes over the last couple of months. One of our long term residents, Guinness, is in the process of getting a brand new enclosure! Guinness’s old enclosure was showing signs of rust so the decision was made to renew it. For the time being, Guinness has been moved from his long term friend Nuan, whilst the repairs take place. However once the repairs are complete we are hoping to reunite the friends!
Our male gibbon; O and one of our slow lorises; Melissa, have been given new bigger homes. O has been enjoying swinging around his new enclosure whilst Melissa has enjoyed exploring her new home.
Seagame and Brany: One of our resident couples, Seagame and Brany, are making exciting new progress! Volunteers often see the pair interacting and showing signs of intimacy. This is great news for the couple and we hope they will be able to join our release program very soon!
Walking Street Market: GRP returned to Old Phuket Town Walking Street Market again last month for another successful night of raising awareness to both tourists and locals about the challenges facing gibbons. Many people wanted to learn more about gibbons and many more supported us with generous donations! The volunteers and staff had great fun talking to all the shoppers and are looking forward to the next market!
School Visits: The month of May saw the beginning of the Thai school year and the start of GRP’s educational visits to schools. GRP aims to teach students, about the problems facing gibbons as well as other wildlife and environmental issues. The students enjoyed taking part in lots of interactive games and also had a chance to learn some English from our volunteers by singing along to some educational songs! We have planned to visit 6 schools in June and we will be visiting many more this year!
Donation Box Collections: Thanks to the support of many companies and hotels, GRP has donation boxes all over Phuket! In May, both GRP staff and volunteers went to collect these donation boxes and were overwhelmed by the generous donations given by locals and tourists. The GRP had a great time meeting all the wonderful staff at the companies and hotels and greatly appreciate their support!
LEAFLET DROP AO PO PIER 9TH MAY
The GRP organized another leaflet drop in May, focusing on the popular tourist location, Ao Po Pier! The team spoke to the tourists about our project and informed them about the cruel and illegal gibbon trade. The staff and volunteers had a lot of fun talking to the tourists and hope to engage with the public again soon!
Gibbon Rehabilitation Project (Chiang Mai): GRPC
Dry season is always a challenge for our wild gibbons, with less forest food and water available. This year was no exception, and was even recorded as one of the longest heat waves for decades causing drought in many areas! In the forests of Chiang Mai it is common practice to burn areas of forest to make way for new plantations. However, aided by this year’s extra long dry season these fires spread greater distances, reducing the amount of food available to our gibbons.
To help our gibbons, the team in Chiang Mai has supplemented our forest gibbons with food and water to aid them throughout the dry season. Fortunately, May marked the end of the dry season this year which allowed our forest gibbons to forage for food and water again.
Nat, Nuan, Beauty and Tony
This family continues to thrive in Chiang Mai and is often observed playing together and foraging for food. Recently Beauty has been showing signs of aggression towards humans such as shaking trees and jumping towards people. We believe this may be a sign that Beauty is maturing and may be ready to find her own mate.
Brittany, Jun and Thong
It has been an eventful year for this group of gibbons! Our last update from Chiang Mai reported that Ollie had gone missing, leaving Brittany in the forest by herself. Although initially concerned for Brittany and how she would survive on her own, the team is no longer worried. Brittany has proven herself to be a confident gibbon and has been coping in the forest well.
Brittany has found herself some new friends and has been seen spending time with both Jun and Thong. Although Jun and Brittany have not been observed fighting or showing signs of aggression, Brittany is noticeably the more dominant of the two, with Jun being much more cautious around Brittany. Thong and Brittany have also spent much time together, and are getting along well. The Chiang Mai team believes that Brittany and Thong may eventually become a mating pair, and to prevent any fights between the females, have made the decision to recapture Jun. We hope that in the future we can pair Jun with another male and release her again. Although it is still early days for Brittany and Thong, we are excited to see how this potential new couple will get along.
GRPC are happy to report that Chiang Mai’s newest residents, Annie & Aye Aye and Champ & Mee are coping well in their new environment and are happy in their new homes! The Chiang Mai Team is busy building an acclimatization cage in the forest for our new gibbon arrivals. It is yet to be decided which couple will be released first as both couples are adjusting well to the Chiang Mai environment. However, we will keep you updated on this as soon as a decision is made.