Dear Joy Readers
After a recent trip to Phuket and discovering the Gibbon Rehabilitation project (GRP) I was so moved by what these guys are doing and I thought as it is such a worthy cause that we could spread the news about them here at the Joy Project.
Also with all the year 12 students coming to the end of their schooling days and maybe looking at doing something alternative to traditional schoolies , or thinking about a gap year, I thought this maybe a perfect place for them to spend some of their time.
The gibbon rehabilitaiton project takes care of gibbons that were taken from the forest illegally, to be used as tourist attractions or pets. They then prepare the gibbons for reintroduction (for suitable gibbons only) back into the forest.
Preparing the gibbons is a complex task that takes many years depending on the gibbons’ individual backgrounds and personalities.
Most gibbons that arrive at the project have never learned natural behaviours, many are ill and traumatised. Nevertheless, since 2002 GRP has successfully established an independent, wild and breeding population of gibbons in the forest of Phuket. With many wild born babies within the re-introduced population, GRP is the most successful gibbon reintroduction project in the world.
We had one of volunteers Tor (hope I have spelt your name correctly) from Denmark chat to us, and show us around.
These guys are desperate for volunteers. The minimum you can volunteer for is three weeks as it takes this long for training. Tor did mention that you can pay for your accommodation up front and at the end of your stay you are reimbursed 70% of these costs. You are also eligible for discounts at some local restaurants.
Some of the activities involved include:
-Preparation of food and feeding
-Building, maintenance and enrichment of cages
-Daily cleaning of cages
-Educating tourists and explaining about the work of GRP and the conservation situation in Thailand
-Trail cutting and cage building in the forest in preparation for releases.
So if you are interested in volunteering click here to go to the GRP website and you an see all the details for becoming a volunteer.
These creatures were just amazing to watch and to listen to, their song sounds like sirens, I have never heard anything like it before.
We could have stood there all day watching them swing from branch to branch. One of the gibbons Tor told us about has been released 6 times but loves the place so much keeps coming back, but thankfully they have also had gibbons released and don’t come back.
Here are some words from past volunteers:
“Volunteering with GRP has been the opportunity of a lifetime for me. working with these rare and charismatic animals is such a rewarding experience. I’ve sweated buckets, got my hands dirty and learned so much about gibbons and their behaviour first hand that I never wanted to leave! This has also given me the opportunity to live within a Thai community for an extended period and really start to understand the culture of this wonderful country o something I never got whilst travelling. I’m proud to have been part of GRP and the amazing work that they are doing.” Ollie Price (England)
“There are many worthwhile projects to volunteer with, but the reason I keep coming back to GRP is that apart from the opportunity to work with some really good hearted people, this project not only takes care of animals in need, they manage to rehabilitate previously abused animals back to living free in the wild one again. The satisfaction and feeling inside this brings is beautiful. To see Gibbons back in their natural environment is an amazing thing. Don’t miss out on the chance of a lifetime. Apply Today.” Mikael Mahlberg (Sweden)
So if you have a chance not only to volunteer but to visit the GRP I would urge you to do it, you will love it.
The Joy Girls xx