Monkey Birth Control Phase 5 continued

The monkeys of Don Chao Poo Forest Park, Phana, were visited again by Vets from Department of National Parks, Ubon Ratchathani, plus one from Khon Khaen. They operated on more monkeys in April 2019.


DSC04561 (2)


While more patients awaited their turn.


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Monkey Birth Control Phase 5

Monkey Birth Control Phase 5 is about to begin. Department of National Parks  vets will be operating on males and females (about 100 in total) starting on 4th April. Preparation began with the arrival of cages on Saturday.cages arrive

Then yesterday, Sunday, the mayor of OPT Phana, Kanok Sonsil, people from DNP and and OPT Phana, together with Pensri Whiting of Phana Monkey Project gathered at the Chao Poo shrine in Don Chao Poo Forest for a ceremony to request a blessing from the guardian spirit.

CP group


Later, cages were sited in the village of Don Khual. They will remain open for a few days so that monkeys can be accustomed to them.

cage location BDK

This morning, young monkeys started to explore the new structure:



While older and wiser monkeys bided their time and kept a watchful eye on the young ones:DSC04514

Maybe tomorrow there will be food in the cages.

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Volunteer visit Phana

Visit the lovely village / town of Phana in rural north-east Thailand.

Phana is famous for its 300-year old Buddhist temple and the 1,000+ monkeys that live in the local forest.

Stay in the homestay at our Research Centre, with free wi-fi and bicycles

Logo  twins pic

Get to know the monkeys

            Feed them

            Give them fresh water

            Clean up after them

Enjoy exploring the local markets, trying all the different foods available, exploring the village and its surrounding countryside.

Watch this video of a couple’s trip to Phana and  their first few days here:

For more information on volunteering here


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lauren 6

For some time now, we have not been able to accept volunteers to the Phana Monkey Project, but that has now changed.


Tell us who you are, when you would like to come, and how long you would like to stay. OH YES! Tell us WHY you would like to come here.

We look forward to hearing from you.


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Mind the Monkeys!

New book published

We have recently published this book which tells the story of the Phana Monkey Project over seven years — the ideas, Phana people, the students, the volunteers, the forest, and, of course, THE MONKEYS!

Full cover

Available now!! Order direct from the author at reduced cost!
$12.29, £9.25, Euro 10.45, THB 450 all postage FREE
Order by email to

PLEASE NOTE that the full printed edition (12 pages of colour photos) is also available from Books Mango ( The Print on Demand (POD) version from Amazon will have all photos in black and white!

Posted in Amnat Charoen Province, Bio-diversity, Community action, Forest conservation & renewal, monkey forest, Monkeys, Phana Monkey Project, Uncategorized, wildlife photography | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Male Macaques guarding the young

monkey feast 6

At this time of year we see more instances of adult males taking care of young juvenile monkeys. Most often this takes the form of an adult sitting with a group of juvenile males playing together. The role of the adult seems to be that of a security guard. He doesn’t get involved in the play, but sits within a meter or so of the young ones, and constantly turns his head to ensure that there is no threat coming from any direction. He looks exactly like the bodyguard of a head of state, in fact.

But this photo, taken in August, shows two adult males with about 40 juveniles sitting around unhusked rice provided in front of the Chao Poo Shrine. There is just one female to be seen close to the group (picture 2) and there are others sitting further away, but none in the main group.

monkey feast 6crop2

picture 2

The two males are sitting opposite each other, and although as with play-group guardians, they looked around them occasionally, but never at each other. Neither was interested in eating the rice during the roughly five minutes I was observing them.


picture 3

It seemed clear that they were close allies, and probably the dominant two of their troop, but I saw nothing to suggest which one dominated the other. However, one male caught my eye because he was sheltering an infant.

monkey feast 1crop

picture 4

I had seen an adult male, probably this one, sheltering an infant several times in the last few days. The infant was certainly happy to be with the male, because on one occasion I saw them sitting next to each other and then the adult started to move away. The infant ran after him and attached himself beneath the male just as he would have with his mother.

There are several reasons why this situation may have come about. The mother may have dies or abandoned the infant. The adult male may have stolen the infant (I saw an adult male carrying and sheltering an infant last year, too.) Another possibility is that another monkey took the infant, and this adult male rescued him.

Fortunately, infants not old enough to be weaned off mother’s milk are nevertheless able to take small items of food so with continued care and protection this infant should be able to survive.

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Morning sit about and walk about

Sweet Marie enjoying the sun and the shade this sunny morning in Don Chao Poo Forest Park, Phana District, Amnat Charoen Province in North-East Thailand.

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Killing in the forest

Finding dead monkeys in the forest is a fairly common event. We estimate that on average 5 o5 6 monkeys are killed every month, most of them by traffic on the road outside. Newborn infants are also vulnerable and seeing a mother dragging her dead baby around is a distressing experience but one that we see quite frequently. Since the beginning of January there have been 3 confirmed deaths, one a mature female with no sign of any injury, a new-born infant that was possibly still-born, and a sub-adult male that unfortunately I found dying.

Here is how I found him:


The lower part of his rib cage was exposed and flies were already very active on his body. I thought at first that he was already dead and when I saw very slight movement of his abdomen I assumed that this was caused by flies or maggots. But then he made a small twitching movement in an attempt to brush off flies. I continued watching him and he opened his eyes and started to make an enormous effort to move. Eventually, he managed to take up this position:


At this point I left him for a few minutes in order to secure my bicycle and when I returned he had moved again:


Seeing his wound more fully there was no doubt that it had not been caused by another monkey but by a dog, and I recalled that on several recent days I had seen a pair of dogs hunting in the forest.

I decided to move him out of the sun and away from the very exposed spot where I found him. Now, on several occasions when I have attempted to move a dead monkey from the road, I have been very aggressively surrounded by many monkeys, to the point that I have always decided not to move the body until there were no other monkeys around.  There were ten or so monkeys within about 5 – 10 metres but when I lifted this little monkey not one of them showed  any interest at all. The injured monkey himself froze, or did not have the strength to struggle, and I carried him in this upright position and left him sitting in the shade on a pile of leaves beneath a bush. I hoped he was more comfortable there. When I saw him again a few hours later he was lying down, and by the next morning he has died in that same position. I wish I could have done more for him, but in reality I think I did all that was possible.



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Birth Control — Long-tailed Macaques in Phana

The first stage of the birth control programme for the long-tailed macaques in Phana took place at the end of August and beginning of September 2016. Stage two is likely to begin soon, so it is time that we look back on the initial stage.

The original idea was to perform vasectomies on about 100 adult males and sterilisation of a much smaller number of females. However, a total of 114 males underwent the operation but no females were sterilised although everyone agreed that female sterilisation was an important and necessary step to take. Two females were operated on in the sense that they were anaesthetised and opened, but the vets found that the operation as performed with the equipment they had available to them at that time would take too long, resulting in a need for longer under anaesthetic and a longer recovery time and overall a longer time away from their female-bonded families , all of which would be a traumatic for the monkeys involved, including those family members which would be missing one of their number.

Monkeys were accustomed to open capture cages for several days and they moved in and out to feed without much initial hesitation.


Male monkeys dominated the feeding groups inside the capture cages. When capture began, monkeys were moved in smaller transport cages to the operating centre based in rooms at the OPT Phana (Phana sub-district administration offices).


This was the base for the whole operation. There was a covered but open area for pre-op procedures, an operating room, a food storage area and a recovery area.


The pre-op area

The first step then was to administer the anaesthetic by injection, which was achieved by enticing the monkey to the side of the small cage and grabbing a leg.

dsc02814When the anaesthetic had taken full effect, the monkeys were tattooed on the face. dsc02760The position of the tattoo or tattoos on the face are coded. Here is the code they were working with. dsc02816 This monkey has two, one representing 10 and the other 1, so he was monkey number 11.

dsc02752bFinally, the monkeys were weighed and their information recorded.

dsc02752 This was the biggest monkey recorded.

The monkeys were moved to the operating room as vets became available to operate on them. Vets worked in pairs or small groups as not all of them had had previous experience, and there was a limit to the equipment available.

The monkeys’ heart rate was monitored throughout the operation, which took about 15 minutes.dsc02766

Monkeys were then moved to recovery cages to await their return to full consciousness.dsc02781

Most were returned the following day to the forest close to where they had been captured.

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Termite migration in Don Chao Poo Forest

There is plenty of evidence of termite activity in Don Chao Poo Forest. There are many termite mounds, new and active ones as well as inactive ones. There is also plenty of evidence that termites can and do destrof trees over a period of time. The termites in this short video have stripped their tree home of most of its bark and left the trunk covered in their trademark sandy deposit. Nevertheless, for the time being at least the tree continues to exist, if not thrive.

Termites on the Move

Video courtesy of Phana Monkey Project

Posted in Bio-diversity, Forest conservation & renewal, monkey forest, Phana Monkey Project, Termites, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment