The abuse of wild animals in Thailand has long been prevalent in the touristic areas, and many an unsuspecting tourist can be seen grinning inanely having photos taken with an obviously distressed baby gibbon holding on for dear life. Understandably, said tourists see this as a bit of fun, not to mention a unique photo opportunity; however, most are unaware of the abuse that awaits the poor creatures as they outgrow their usefulness. When questioned upon the origin of the animals the owners often claim that they have been bred in captivity, but when further pressed they will probably confirm that actually the parents of the animals had been killed in the wild and the babies taken from them.
Thankfully, the practice is becoming less common since being brought to the attention of the Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Division of the Royal Thai Police. Crackdowns on the practice across Thailand has seen the confiscation of hundreds of species of wild animals who are then placed in rehabilitation centres with the aim of being released back into the wild.
One such centre is the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project (GRP), a non-profit organisation based in Phuket and run mainly by volunteers and students. You can visit the Rehabilitation site and the Education center (Center for Conservation and Fund-Raising) both located in Khao Phra Theaw Non-Hunting Area at Bang Pae Waterfall in Phuket, Thailand. The centre is open daily from 9am to 4.30pm and you can visit and watch the gibbons from the viewing platform. The centre does not charge an entrance fee, however as the project is majorly volunteer based, a donation for the cause is always much appreciated.
If you are holidaying in Phuket this year, then this is a great opportunity to make a difference for an endangered species. And if you are lucky enough to live in the area, the project are always looking for volunteers.
For more information you can visit the GRP Facebook page here:
or visit their website directly here:
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