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Gibbon Rehabilitation Project (GRP) on Phuket Island

On Phuket Island there is a small group of enthusiastic volunteers who try to save the gibbons in Thailand. Once they lived there in large numbers, now they are almost extinct "thanks to" the tourist industry.
The information on this page is based on the documentation of the project

Bang Pae Waterfall

On Phuket Island, there are still a few pieces of tropical rain forest left. One is near Bang Pae Waterfall, shown above. It certainly is worth the while to go there and walk to the waterfall. To get there, coming form anywhere on the island, head for Thalang, then go to the monument of the Heroines of Phuket and take road 4027 northbound from there. (Or ask your taxi driver to bring you there).
Near the entrance of the area you will find a very small, but enthusiastically lead, project: The Gibbon Rehabilitation Project. Here white-handed gibbons (Hylobates lar) - and other types of gibbons - that have been maltreated as a "tourist attraction" are being made ready for their return into Nature. Sadly not even the area near the Project is not safe to let them free. Even there the danger is too great that they are being caught again, so you can not enjoy their presence there. They are being released in the woods near the Project and are kept under control there.

Gibbon in GRP

Do not expect a kind of zoo there. The gibbons living there have to be "de-humanified", so you can see them in their (large) cages, but only from a distance. Nevertheless you can see them and enjoy their beautiful singing. In the meantime you can read about the project and donate money to it, for example by buying articles, or by "adopting" one or more of the gibbons.

Desk at the GRP

This is the "front desk" of the GRP. You will only see volunteers there. Most of them are foreign. But do not think that they get free air tickets or large amounts of money for expenses, because they get noting but the pleasant company of the gibbons!
You might even overlook the entrance of this small project. It is more or less hidden in wood. Look for the sign, and walk a few steps up to the desk.
The gibbons you will see in the Project area are white handed gibbons, the extremely beautiful ones with a white circle of hair around their face and white hair on the top of their hands and feet. They are most wanted by illegal catchers, because of their rare beauty. You can see them on someof the pictures on this page.

Right below this piece of text you can get a better look at two different types gibbons, pictured in Dusit Zoo in Bangkok. Be stunned about the extreme beauty and expressiveness of these cousins of yours!

White Handed Gibbon Gibbon


Gibbons are apes, rather closely related to humans. Their biological name is Hylobates lar. The most well-known apes are the "great apes" (Gorilla, Orangutan, Chimpanzee and Bonobo). Like these other apes, gibbons do not have tails. They mostly hang in trees and their normal way of transportation is with their arms, from branch to branch, but when they walk, they walk upright, like humans. This is even more remarkable, because even the "great apes" most of the times walk on their hands and feet.
They are quite small (around 50 cm. high, we estimate) and in good zoos you will be able to see them in an environment where they have enough space. Examples in Thailand areDusit Zoo in Bangkok and the zoo in Korat (Nakhon Rachasima). At the bottom of this page you can download a screen saver with pictures of gibbons living (apparently happily) in Korat Zoo.
When they are happy, they "sing" in an extremely beautiful way. The meaning of the song is to show who is in charge on the territory. This singing only is worth a trip to a good zoo or to the GRP on Phuket Island. But you can also hear a gibbon sing by clickling here!
Their food consists of fruit, tree leaves, flowers and insects. If left alone, they will reach an age of around 30 years.
Gibbons are monogamous and their natural habitat is South-East Asia. In Thailand there were many gibbons in the past, but humans have maltreated them by catching them for their "pleasure" and by deforestation. Gibbons are almost extinct now in Thailand.
It has been popular (also on Phuket) to catch wild gibbons and put them in cages. They were (and even are today) forced to smoke cigarettes, drink whisky and perform other disgusting acts for tourists.

Whenever you see a gibbon during your visit to Thailand in such circumstances, PLEASE inform the GRP. You can find their address, telephone number and further details at the bottom of this page!

When gibbons become around seven years old, they should become sexually active and they become difficult to handle. This is the stage when they are being "dumped" or even killed by their (unlawful!) owners. Or sometimes they are being put in a small cage or chained, which makes it impossible for them to move as they should in Nature.
You can compare this situation with life in prison, but in this case a much too small prison to survive properly.

The GRP on Phuket tries to save gibbons from this situation. For that reason it deserves your support!

But do not think that this is all the harm that is being done to gibbons. Far from it. The catching of a gibbon is one of the worst acts. As you should understand, a gibbon mother will not hand over her baby voluntarily to humans, so the "normal practice" to catch a young gibbon is to shoot its mother first. And sometimes other gibbons will try to save the young baby, so behind one young gibbon caught for "pleasure" you can see the dead ghosts of one to four adult gibbons.

Would your wife hand over your baby to a group of apes voluntarily? So how would you like your wife (and yourself and other companions) to be killed by a group of apes, because they would like to own a small human for their entertainment? This is the way you should look at the illegal capturing of gibbons.

The Gibbon Rehabilitation Project (GRP)

The people who work in this Project -as said- try to preserve the gibbons from extinction from their worst enemy, man. They are all volunteers and they are not being paid at all, not even expenses. They do this work for the sake of the gibbon. We believe that this work deserves your support. You can make a donation, apply as a volunteer or financially adopt one of the gibbons in the Project.
That this work remains necessary is a sad truth: Every year gibbons in small cages are being found at the famous floating market.

We saw a baby gibbon, offered to be photographed with, in Koh Panyee, the "Muslim Village" they take you to when you have visited "James Bond Island". We reported this to the GRP and to the Thai authorities, because the GRP has no authority to confiscate a gibbon. We hope the poor creature has been saved now.
If you see a gibbon in captivity please do the same . You can also call the Forestry Police at number 1362. Please do not hesitate to do this!

Dongrak Endoo

We, from Hasekamp Net, did the last mentioned thing: We adopted two gibbons, Dongrak and Endoo, shown on the pictures above in November 2000. We extended the adoption for another year in 2001 and once more in 2002. Since then - sadly - we did not hear from the GRP on expiration of our adoption, but we renewed our adoption of Dongrak once more, and made a donation for Endoo, during our visit to Phuket in December 2004.
During that visit to the GRP we heard that the rehabilitation of Dongrak cannot succeed. He does - even after several years at the GRP - not socialize with other (female) gibbons and therefore cannot live in the wild again. He consequently has to spend the rest of his life in captivity.
Dongrak, therefore, is an example of a gibbon that has been maltreated by humans for so long, that he cannot live like a gibbon any more. 

In 2008 we heard at the GRP that although it had been tried to release Dongrak in the wild, near the center, he died some time after that.The center then found that Endoo could not be released in the wild. So now she has to spend the rest of her life at the GRP.

We decided in 2008 to adopt a different young gibbon, that may have a chance to be released in the wild in the future. She was confiscated from a photographer in Patong and her given name is Songkran, because she came in the center on Songkran day in 2004. Her picture is just below this piece of text.


We know that the adoption of a gibbon is only a symbolic deed, but we did something anyway. We appeal to all our visitors to support this Project too. Here are their details, as copied form the printed material, obtained in the Project in December 2004:

Details of the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project

Address: Gibbon Rehabilitation Project, Bang Pae Waterfall, Pa Khlock, Thalang, Phuket 83110, THAILAND.
Tel.: (+66)-(0)76 260 492; Fax: (+66)-(0)76 260 491;
Website of WAR (Wild Animal Rescue Foundation of Thailand): http://www.warthai.org
Website of the GRP (Gibbon Rehabilitation Project): http://www.gibbonproject.org

Email of the GRP: adoption@gibbonproject.org
We trust the organization.
We are aware that there are people (in a group on Facebook for instance) that state that the project is not run financially properly. However, these people offer no proof whatsoever about what they state. They do not even mention their own name or give a proper profile picture, but simply call themselves "gibbon". As long as the project exists and rescues (many) gibbons, as can be seen at the GRP, we ignore these people.

Please give your support!

Gibbon Rehabilitation Project

Do you want to own a gibbon after all?

Stuffed gibbon

If you really think you should own a gibbon, buy one like this! We bought it at Central Department Store in Bangkok. It was no longer available there in 2004, but at the GRP you can buy an even larger and more beautiful one for a (donation of) 700 Baht (price: 2008). You will do no harm to Nature if you buy one, and enjoy its company, like we do!


Download a free screen saver with gibbon pictures as photographed in Korat (Nakhon Rachasima) Zoo.

More pictures of gibbons


Hasekamp Net Primates Webring

This Ring Site is owned by Rene Hasekamp


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