As 2013 draws to a close, the Phana Macaque Project (aka Phana Monkey Project) looks back at the researchers and volunteers who have made this a wonderfully productive year for us.
After the first four volunteer researchers helped us to set up the project in 2012, we started advertising for volunteer researchers on the University of Wisconsin’s PIN (Primary Information Network) http://pin.primate.wisc.edu/ site and in December 2012 we advertised for volunteers through http://www.worldwidehelpers.org/. Midway through 2013 we added http://www.volunteerworkthailand.org/ to the sites where we advertised. But it seems that our advertisements have been taken up by several other platforms, unbeknownst to us.
We have welcomed 24 researchers / volunteers in 2013 and they have stayed for between a week and three months. Our first volunteer arrived on 3rd January 2013 and he stayed with us a month. Yiannos spent all day and everyday in the forest, completely absorbed in the life of the monkeys. He left us with some valuable information about dysmorphic monkeys (about nine of them, old females mostly but also some younger ones as well as two males) and injured monkeys. But no photograph of himself.
Steve and Sarah taught for a month at Ban Muang Sawat Primary school and the local council-run kindergarten, as well as spending time in the forest. It was about this time that a young male monkey got into the habit of climbing on us, not something we encourage but it was difficult to prevent. As 2013 closes we are a little pleased that he seems to have outgrown the habit. Here he is with Sarah, who was well prepared for him:
Sarah was a hit with lots of the local children she taught, too:
But Steve was a somewhat Big Friendly Giant (BFG) presence in the forest:
They were both giants by Phana standards:
The Little Friendly Monkey (LFM) got to know many of the volunteers who came after Steve and Sarah.
Antonio and Bekah … and two of the girls they taught
Amy taught too (though it may not look like that)
Thomas worked on skeletons … and so did Simon
Carol-Ann was only photographed in the forest at night
Liz came to Phana to get away from insects … but she couldn’t resist them and made us a wonderful collection
Ethan became fascinated by monkey poo … and found some interesting specimens
Felipe spent several weeks tracking a troop of monkeys and you can see his research paper above. But first he conducted an autopsy on a female monkey that had been found recently dead only an hour or so before he arrived.
Everybody got to ride a bicycle but not everyone was shot doing so
Several people got to sample Kalyani’s breakfasts but Ethan did better than most:
Eating obviously plays a big part in one’s life in Phana – and everywhere in Thailand):
French Crepes prepared by Joy and Lauriane were a highlight:
And for Tessa and Julia, these fried crickets were, too!
At CHRISTMAS 2013 Pensri and Lawrence were joined at home by Julia, Lydia and Tessa and by the two Project Trust volunteers Cameron and Kevin. The kitchen was very crowded indeed!
TEACHING is one of the things that we like to get involved with. We put on a one-day course for the Continuing Education Centre with the help of two Project Trust volunteers, Claire Mitchell (seen here, standing) and Robyn Stewart:
Liz and Maria helped with teaching Ban Tham Yae Primary School who came to us for classes
Lydia, Julia, Tessa and Ellliott all taught Phanasuksa students who came for Science lessons in English focussing on the monkeys of Don Chao Poo (M1) and Bio-diversity of the forest:
Amy and Jeff came and produced dissertations for their MSc in Animal Behaviour:
We fed the monkeys
We gave them water
and we counted them, followed them, watched them, photographed them, picked up litter after them … and loved them!
Phana Monkey Project is a small project but it seems to foster togetherness in its volunteers. Here are some of them together:
But maybe the two outstanding memories of 2013 have nothing to do with the monkey forest, but everything to do with music.
Antoine became a drummer for a festive parade
and Simon not only taught the macarena to these children
but check out this short video to see how he spent many evenings at the Study Centre
Phana Monkey Project would like to thank all the researchers and volunteers who have helped us so much throughout 2013. And most of all we thank you for your company — we have enjoyed ourselves this past year and we hope you and our readers have done so too. Good luck to you all in 2014!