Gibbon a Helping Hand

When thinking of Phuket the words ‘party’ and ‘tourist’ automatically come to mind, and rightly so. However, just 20 minutes outside of Phuket Town’s hustle and bustle lies the serene Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre. Stepping into the Rehabilitation Centre is like discovering a new world-a world where the trees buzz with siren-like howls and the branches shake and convulse as if with a mind of their own. Initially this may be confronting, but on closer inspection you will realise that these are howls of joy and belonging, and that you are not just being welcomed into a tourist attraction, but into a home.

Phuket’s Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre provides refuge to over sixty Gibbons at a time, most of whom have been abused from a young age and used as tourist attractions. In Thailand there are over 3,000 gibbons killed each year, as families are slaughtered trying to protect their young from hunters.

The biologists and volunteers who work here adopt these cheeky, acrobatic white-handed gibbons, and teach them the ABC’s of living in the wild. Unfortunately, upon release many of these lovable animals are once again caught or killed by hunters and may end up finding refuge in the rehabilitation centre once more.

Lulu finds refuge in Phuket’s Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre after her family was killed by hunters.

The Rehabilitation Centre aims to save as many Gibbons as they can, though statistics tell us that for every saved Gibbon there are two or three who have been killed. However, it is obvious that the members of this particular family care little for statistics. They swing in their large cages and sing to each other as if for the moment this is where they belong, hoping that one day they might just make it to freedom.

 Tip for the penny pinchers:

One of the great benefits of this project is that it is solely run by volunteers from across the globe and no entrance fee is charged. Therefore, the centre has positioned itself as an intriguing activity for not only those interested in Gibbon preservation, but also those who are looking for an enjoyable day with a restricted budget. It is also recommended to visit the Bang Pae Falls, which are located a short 10 minute walk from the Rehabilitation Centre.

Tourists and locals converge to cool off in the Bang Pae Waterfall

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