2013–The Year in Pictures–and a few words

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 2

Sarah was a hit with lots of the local children she taught, too:

Sarah 3

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.

Liz                                                                       Bekah

Liz 3 Bekah


2007-01-01 00.32.27 DSC01113


Manuela 3  Manuela 1


  047  045

                                                     Joy                                                                             Amy

Joy  DSC07332

DSC07329 DSC07331

Antonio and Bekah                                                  … and two of the girls they taught

Antonio & Bekah  Antonio & Bekah (2)

Amy taught too (though it may not look like that)

Amy teaching

Thomas worked on skeletons          … and so did Simon

Thomas  Simon 2

2007-01-01 00.02.46

Carol-Ann was only photographed in the forest at night

DSC05913  DSC05917

Liz came to Phana to get away from insects … but she couldn’t resist them and made us a wonderful collection

Liz 4  Liz 2

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.

Felipe 1

Everybody got to ride a bicycle but not everyone was shot doing so

                                                                Liz                                                                                                Ethan

2007-01-03 01.04.58   Ethan



Several people got to sample Kalyani’s breakfasts but Ethan did better than most:

Ethan & Kalyani

Eating obviously plays a big part in one’s life in Phana – and everywhere in Thailand):

Dinner at Lek's  Maria Kalyani Siriwan

French Crepes prepared by Joy and Lauriane were a highlight:

Crepes 2    Crepes

And for Tessa and Julia, these fried crickets were, too!

Tessa & Julia

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!

2013-12-25 001 2013-12-25 001 2013-12-25 001 2013-12-25 003 2013-12-25 001 2013-12-25 006 2013-12-25 001 2013-12-25 007 2013-12-25 001 2013-12-25 013

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:

DSC08057   DSC08060

Tessa & M1   M1 Phanasuksa 3rd Visit 2013-12-13 029

Amy and Jeff came and produced dissertations for their MSc in Animal Behaviour:

Amy & Jeff

We fed the monkeys

Emma                                                                                                                                            Lydia

DSC06204   Laura B feeding monkeys 2

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:

Antoine & FelipeElliott & TessaAntoine Manuela Ethan Liz Simon

IMG_3869IMG_3878Julia Lydia Elliott

Tessa Lydia Julia

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

Simon 3

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!

About isantraveller

I have been in and around North-East Thailand for more years than I can recall. I now live here permanently. I have travelled in 32 countries on 3 continents (Europe, Asia, Africa) so I am a bit of a traveller.
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