Successful Reintroduction

Successfully reintroduced gibbons living in KPT forest

ELEVEN wild born gibbons have been born within the Reintroduction site!

Welcome Happy and Saifa!”

HOPE, who is wild born herself to reintroduced parents, gives birth to her first born baby in Sep-12 and the infant has been named “Happy”. DAO, who was released as a juvenile in 2003 gives birth to her second wild born baby in Nov-12 and her baby is named “Saifa”. Both mothers and babies are doing well!

11th ANNIVERSARY! Kip’s family is celebrating their 11th year anniversary in the wild in October 2013!
This family, released in 2002, has fulfilled all three criteria for successful reintroduction*,  in that they have a) survived 10 years post-release, b) maintained the original pair bond and c) raised three wild born babies past infancy. The results gained at GRP gives some hope in regards to the possibility of using reintroductions as a conservation method for gibbons in the future.

* Cheyne, S.M. 2009. The role of reintroduction in gibbon conservation: opportunities and challenges. In: Whittaker, D.J. and Lappan, S. (eds.) The Gibbons; New Perspectives on Small Ape Sociology and Population Biology. New York:Springer, pp.477-496.

Between 2002 and 2013 thirty-one gibbons have been released in the KPT forest; eight families, two sub-adult males and an adult female. Eleven wild babies have been born within the reintroduced population in these past eleven years. In August 2013, 22 gibbons are living free at our reintroduction site.

Sixty percent of the originally reintroduced animals have adapted to the wild, or appear to be adjusting well so far in their reintroduction process. Of these, one was translocated to another forest after 10 years in the wild in September 2012 as he returned to our rehabilitation site looking for a mate. Another male was recaptured in November 2012 after 3 years in the wild as he was continuously exhibiting aggressive behaviours towards humans in the forest.

2012 – COP’s family
August 2013 – Family members surviving in the forest: 
Cop, Jorn & Sherpa

2012 – On the 18th of November 2012 we released Cop (adult female), Jorn (adult male) and their 2 year old son Sherpa. This is the youngest family we have ever released (Cop being 10 years old and Jorn only 8) and some of the fastest graduates through our rehabilitation program. Cop arrived at GRP from Patong beach in 2004 and Jorn arrived in 2006 – Sherpa is naturally their firstborn. Immediately after release the family was showing excellent traits, such as keeping well off the ground and ignoring humans almost totally.

Jorn   Cop  Sherpa

Jorn; father (left), Cop; mother (middle) and sherpa; male offspring (right)

On their 6th day in the wild they sang their first duet from a tree top, announcing their presence to neighboring gibbons and laying claim to their territory.

2013 – The family is adjusting very well to the wild; they are defending their territory against intruding neighbours and all three look thriving and plump on forest supplies – the provisioned food can be cut down from the original 3kg to 2kg in February 2013 and then further down to 1,5kg by May 2013.

2011 – KUSHTA’s family

**Renamed Nuan’s family in 2013**
August 2013 – Family members surviving in the forest: 
Nuan, Arun & Nat

2011 – Kushta (adult female), Muki (sub adult male), Nat (sub adult male) and Peemai (Kushta’s juvenile daughter) were released on the 27th of April 2011. This was a slightly unusual family in the fact that the adult male and father of young Peemai, called Mai, went blind in the years building up to the release and sadly had to be separated from his family. Instead Kushta and Peemai were released together with Nat and Muki, two sub adult males. Nat is Kushta’s son from a previous pairing and he and his playmate Muki were easily accepted by Kushta who even mated with Muki in the cage. Unfortunately, Muki was too immature to defend Kushta in the forest when Arun, a young adult male from a previously released family, turned up at the release site to claim her.

Kushta group (1)  Kushta (2)  Nat (3)

   Muki (4)  Peemai (5)  Arun (6)

Kushta group in training cage (1), Kushta; female (2), Nat; male offspring (3), Muki; male adopted (4), Peemai; female offspring (5), and Arun (6)

….Kushta and Arun mating (right below)….

Kushta and ArunWe suspect that Arun may have been exhibiting infanticidal behaviours as Kushta lost a newborn infant and shortly afterwards Arun was observed being extremely aggressive towards young Peemai. After many attempts at uniting Peemai with her family in the forest GRP had to admit defeat in January 2012; Peemai was separated and brought back to our Rehabilitation site were she now lives with another juvenile.

2012 – In May, Kushta was again seen with a dead infant, this time presumably fathered by Arun. The supplementary feeding of the family was stopped in July 2012, but restarted in October as both Kushta and Muki were starting to look thin and were seeking humans out for food. It was also noted that Kushta may be pregnant again and in need of extra food. At the end of 2012 Kushta is being kept inside the old training cage within the group’s territory and fed once a day in order for GRP staff to be able to focus on the release of Cop’s family. The three males are all surviving in the forest around the cage.

Kushta and her son Nat were originally released in a nuclear family with adult male Bozo in 2006. Following the disappearance of the adult male soon after release, Kushta and Nat were recaptured and housed at our Rehabilitation site for several years.

2013 – Kushta and Muki return to captivity. Kushta is re-released from the training cage in January 2013 and within an hour she is heading towards the tourist trail by Bang Pae waterfall again. Reluctantly it is concluded that her reintroduction is a failure and she gets housed in a cage at the Rehabilitation site. A few days later sub-adult Muki follows suit, but since he has chances of starting his own family in the future he is housed in a separate cage from Kushta. (For more details see unsuccessful reintroductions)

27 year old Nuan (Left) takes Kushta’s place as Arun’s mate and adult female of the family by April 2013!

Kushta’s loss became Nuan’s gain! In order to keep the rest of the “family” in the forest it was clear we needed to introduce another female to Arun and Nat. Nuan had previously adjusted very well to the forest when she was released with her long-term mate Khao and their offspring Payu and Namthip in 2007 and it was only some very unfortunate circumstances that forced the decision to recapture an injured Nuan and bring her back to our rehabilitation site to recover in 2008 (Read the story of Nuan’s 1st release below!)

By May 2013 Nuan and Arun are a bonded pair, singing duets from high emerging trees near the training cage to announce themselves to all neighbouring groups. Nat is treated as a maturing sub adult son and Arun continues to allow him to hang around in the periphery.

On the 13th of August 2013 Kushta dies at our Rehabilitation site after a short illness of severe organ failure

(see unsuccessful reintroductions). 

2009 – JITA’s family

**Renamed HOPE’s family in 2012**
August 2013 – Family members surviving in the forest: 
Hope, Yoge, Claire & Happy

2009 – On the 10th of December 2009 GRP released the family consisting of Jita (adult female), Tony (adult male) and Claire (female infant). In fact, Tony had escaped captivity a few days early and was waiting outside the cage on the release day. Unfortunately, he soon started exhibiting other troublesome traits as well when he first bit a volunteer and then a member of staff. Due to Tony’s behaviour post-release observations of this family were cut short. We decided that while his behaviour is in a way normal – he is trying to defend his territory and protect his family – it was too dangerous to spend a full day observing the family as we needed to be constantly on guard. However, in an attempt to keep track of the family by whatever means possible supplemental feeding was continued for over two years after release.

Tony (1)  Jita (2)  Claire (3)

Jita group members…..Tony; father (1), Jita; mother (2), Claire; female offsping (3)

2010 – Tony, Jita and Claire appear to be doing well in the forest with food provisioning by GRP staff on a daily basis.

2011 – Jita sadly disappears on the 29th of March 2011 and is never seen again. A few months later Claire and Tony are regularly paid visits by the young couple Hope (Born wild 2002) and Yoge (Released as a juvenile in 2004). Hope and Yoge have both grow up in the forest and they dispersed from their respective families in 2011.

Hope   Yoge Hope and Yoge

2012 – Hope gives birth to baby Happy and Tony has to be recaptured due to aggressive behaviour towards humans! Throughout 2012 Hope & Yoge are staying with Tony and Claire. Supplemental feeding is stopped in March 2012. In October the family has moved from their original territory towards Ton Sai waterfall at the other side of the forest. From here we get the first reports of Hope being seen with a newborn infant and it is here that Tony crosses the final line when he bites six tourists in a few weeks – on the 23rd of November Tony is recaptured and returned to our Quarantine site.


Hope’s newborn baby holds a significant meaning to the GRP – this baby (Happy, left picture) is the first of a second generation of wild born gibbons within the reintroduced population!


2007 – NUAN’s family

**Renamed DAO’s family in 2009**
August 2013 – Family members surviving in the forest: 
Dao, Payu, Namthip, Newbe-Mek and Saifa

2007 – Nuan (adult female), Khao (adult male), Payu (juvenile male) and Namthip (infant female) were released on the 26th of September 2007. The first release site that had been chosen for this family did not work out as Lek’s family (released 2003), who suddenly had been expanding their territory in this direction, were clashing with the new family over territory. Once released in a safe area Nuan’s family was adjusting very well to the forest environment.

Khao (1)   Nuan (2)   Payu (3)   Namthip (4)

.Khao; father (1), Nuan; mother (2), Payu; sub adult male (3), Namthip; female offsping (4)

2008 – On the 6th of November 2008, more than a year after the release, adult male Khao disappeared and has never been seen since. A month later, on the 15th of December 2008, Dao (the now adult daughter from the family released in 2003) was found in Nuan’s territory playing with Payu and Namthip. GRP staff found Nuan close by, injured on the ground and concluded that she had fought with Dao and lost. Nuan was returned to the GRP in order for us to treat her injuries and subsequently she was paired with a young male called Max, in order to allow her to start a new family and be re-released as soon as possible.

Dao, Payu and Namthip (1)  Newbe-Mek (2)  Payu (3)

Payu, Dao and Namthip living together and formed a new group…..!! (1)

Newbe-Mek clinging on Dao’s belly (2) Payu; new father (3)

Nuan’s story between 2009 -2013:

Sadly, depressed in the cage after a whole year in the forest, Nuan now rejected her infants soon after giving birth and both Maesa”, born on the 12th of April 2010, and “Emily”, born on the 11th of March 2011, had to be removed from their parents and hand-reared by GRP staff. As a consequence, Nuan and Max were separated. In 2012 attempts were made to bring Nuan into the forest again to pair with Thong (young adult male released as a juvenile in 2002), who had been returning to our Rehabilitation site looking for a mate. Unfortunately, Thong was not interested in Nuan and she had to be returned once again to our Rehabilitation site where we are currently trying an alternative pairing with hopes of a quick release if she becomes pregnant again.

In January 2013 Nuan is finally given a chance to returned to the forest to take Kushta’s place as Arun’s mate after Kushta’s voluntary return to captivity. Luckily Arun readily accepts Nuan and she is now living wild in the forest again. See Kushta’s family above.

2009 – After Nuan lost the fight with Dao, Payu and Dao became a breeding couple and on the 20th of December 2009 Dao gives birth to her firstborn infant, a male named Newbe-Mek. Supplemental feeding for this group was stopped on the 7th of June 2009 as the gibbons are now fully independent.

2010 – 2012 – The family, consisting of Dao, Payu, Namthip and little Newbe-Mek are continuing to do very well in the wild; they are observed by GRP from time to time and heard singing very often when we go into the forest to feed other families.


On the 18th of December 2012 Dao was seen with a newborn infant (Saifa); her second baby born in the wild! Newbe-Mek is not yet three years old and a big brother already!




2003 – LEK’s family 
August 2013 – Family members surviving in the forest: 
Lek, Bank, Peanut

2003 – Lek (adult female), Bo (adult male), Dao (juvenile female) and Arun (infant male) were the second family to be released in KPT forest. The release happened on the 15th August 2003. The family took to the trees well, but the adult male, Bo, soon started showing some worryingly  humanized traits and sometimes liked to approach observers and either try to embrace people or display some aggressive behaviours.

Bo:Father (1)  Lek:Mother (2)  Dao (3)  Arun (4)

Lek group members…..Bo; father (1), Lek; mother (2), Dao; sub adult female (3), Arun; juvenile male (4)

2004 – During this year Bo left his family and returned to our Rehabilitation site on numerous occasions. After carrying him back up into the forest six times, just to have him beat us down the trail on our way back down again, it was decided that he was too humanized and too institutionalized ever to become a wild gibbon.  Lek and the couple’s two dependant offspring remained in the forest and continued to do well.

2006 – Two new gibbons join the family; Yoge (the juvenile male from an unsuccessful reintroduction in 2004) and Bank (a sub-adult male released in the hope that he may join remaining members of Yoge’s family).  Both males are accepted by Lek, whilst she rejects Yoge’s older sister Sabai who has to be returned to our Rehabilitation site. (See unsuccessful reintroductions.)

2007 – The youngsters; Dao, Arun and Yoge are growing up and playing together whilst Bank has formed a breeding pair with Lek and on the 20th November 2007 she gave birth to their first baby. Unfortunately, the infant (named Kopi) died after four days from three possible causes: 1) either it had been taken by a predator, such as a python or a bird, 2) it had been dropped by Lek, who had only previously given birth in cages where her babies may not be seriously harmed if dropped or 3) the baby was simply too weak to survive. We could find no signs of poacher activities and excluded that possibility as a cause of death.

2008 – On the 25th of September 2008, Lek gave birth to her second wild born baby who was named Redy. Meanwhile, eight-year old female Dao is spending more and more time away from her mother’s territory. She is seen mating with the sub adult son, Thong, in the neighbouring territory (released in 2002). In December Dao travels to another part of the forest, fights with the territorial female Nuan and wins the heart of the latter’s sub adult son Payu.

(See Dao’s family above)

2010 – Nearly two year old Redy is seen for the last time on the 19th September 2010. We do not know his faith, but natural infant and juvenile mortality in wild gibbons may be as high as 42%. Lek, Bank and the now sub adult male Arun continue to stay together.

Bank (1)  Lek and Peanut (2)

Bank; adult male(1), Lek and Peanut (2)

2011 – Arun disperses from his mother’s territory and goes to woe Kushta (released April 2011) and competes over her attention with Thong (released 2002) and Muki (who was released as a sub adult together with Kushta). Arun can soon claim Kushta as his. Perhaps he is unwilling to share the attention of his newfound mate with her offspring from previous pairings; we believe he may have intentionally killed one infant and aggressively displaced Kushta’s juvenile daughter Peemai, with potentially fatal outcome unless GRP staff had intervened to save the youngster. (See Kushta’s family above)

Around the 1st of June 2011, Lek gives birth again to a male infant, named Peanut.

2012 – The little family is doing very well. Lek, Bank and baby Peanut are now in possession of a very thin, long territory stretching over a kilometre from one end to the other. At one end they are neighbouring Kushta’s family and at the other end Bank starts paying visits to Cop’s family while they are still in their training cage. Luckily for the new family, Lek is not interested in group encounters, as she is still carrying baby Peanut.

2002 – KIP’s family
August 2013 – Family members surviving in the forest:
Kip, Joe, Toffee, Omyim
2002 – One the 5th of October 2002 GRP released the first gibbon family in KPT via our new soft release reintroduction program. The family consisted of Kip (adult female), Joe (adult male) and Thong (juvenile male). On the 21st of October Kip gave birth to a female infant, named Hope.

2003 – The family is adjusting well to the wild under the watchful eyes of GRP staff and volunteers. However, an attempt to stop supplementary feeding has to be reassessed as Kip with her baby start searching for human food in our camp. Feeding is increased again.

Jo:Father (1) Kip:Mother (2) Toffee (3)

Omyim and Kip (4) Omyim (5)

Kip group members….. Joe; father (1), Kip and Omyim; mother and male offspring (2), Toffee; female offspring (3), Omyim and Kip (4), Omyim (5)

2004 – Supplementary feeding was finally stopped on the 19th of April 2004 as the family is now in possession of a large enough territory to sustain themselves on wild fruits throughout the year. The family is expanding their territory and adult male Joe fights with Bo in Kip’s family and he also visits the newly released Pompam’s family and fights with the adult male, Bird, causing him to flee. (See unsuccessful reintroductions).

2006 – On the 26th October 2006 it was found that Kip had given birth to her second wild born baby, a female named Toffee.

2008 – Sub adult male Thong is staying more in the periphery of his parent’s territory now and is sometimes seen in the company of Dao (sub adult female from Lek’s family).


2009 – On the 30th of December we discover that Kip has given birth to her third wild born baby, this time a male that we name Omyim.

2011 – Thong (left picture) and Hope are now all grown up and both of them finally leave their parents territory this year. Both of them are searching for prospective mates. After being challenged by Arun (released 2003) over Kushta (released 2011) Thong moves towards our Rehabilitation site where he is often heard singing to the gibbons in cages.
Hope joins with Yoge (released 2004, then adopted by Lek’s family) and the two of them go to stay with Tony and Claire.

2012 – The adult couple, Kip and Joe, celebrates 10 years in the wild in October 2012. They have been independent of human food supplementation for over 8 years. Their pair bond has remained stable and they have successfully raised three babies past infancy in the forest.

The translocation of Thong in 2012 – Thong visits our Rehabilitation site repeatedly during the spring and summer, looking for a mate. He fights with several males through the mesh of the cages and attempts are made to catch him. After the first capture, a mature female, named Nuan, is brought into one of the forest acclimatization cages and Thong is re-released nearby. However, there are no sparkles between the two and Thong returns to our rehabilitation site, where he is again captured a few months later. In September 2012 Thong is translocated to a forest in Chiang Mai in the hope he may bond with a semi-wild female there.

In September-October 2012 Kip’s first wild born baby, HOPE, gives birth to HAPPY, the first baby in the second generation of wild born gibbons in KPT. (See Hope’s family above)