Macaque Project

Phana’s long-tailed macaques

A Thai project in sustainability, research and education

Monkeys in DCP

A project designed, funded and run by local community

Idea originated among residents of Phana, a village of approximately 2,000 people in Amnat Charoen province, Northeast Thailand

Project run by Phana Municipality with active voluntary participation of villagers

Main aims:

  • Ensure sustainability of local population of long-tailed macaques and their habitat
  • Establish a study centre for schoolchildren and community in region
  • Run facility for researchers specialising in primates
  • Create source of pride for local community and help diversify income

Monks & Lay people in DCP

Building on a heritage of education

Phana is a 300-year-old village in Thailand’s Amnat Charoen province

Located in the Northeast of Thailand, 60 km from the city of Ubol Ratchatani

Its historic Buddhist temple, which dates back to the birth of the village, was respected locally for providing high quality education before formal schooling arrived

Village remains educational focal point for the locality, and now has three schools

Attracts visitors, mostly from the surrounding area, because of its famous temple and the forest inhabited by long-tailed macaques

Wat Phra Lao, Phana

A need to manage visitors and habitat

Population of approximately 400-600 long-tailed macaques in local forest

Forest area of about 1 sq km is a designated animal sanctuary but has seen some encroachment

Macaques a popular attraction but may have become overfed by visitors, which could lead to overpopulation relative to size of the forest

Need to properly manage visitors, feeding of macaques and forest habitat

Focus on education and research

Phana Municipality and local villagers are engaged in a project to:

Ensure that macaque population and its habitat remains sustainable

Create a study centre to encourage scientific interest amongst local community, especially school children

Encourage academic research into primates at the forest

Make tourist visits to forest a more orderly and rewarding experience

Main Gate, Don Chao Poo

Engaging academics before construction of centre

Project plans to:

  • Encourage immediate interest from academic community to use Phana as a place to study macaques
  • Invite academics to contribute knowledge and resources (eg. video, photographs, research) to centre
  • Build the study centre and put up displays
  • Promotional campaign in regional community, particularly in school

Plans for a well resourced facility

  • Interactive displays on primates
  • Classrooms for visiting groups
  • Dedicated and well-equipped research facilities

Making good progress

Panel of advisors formed:

  • Professor Dr Suchinda Malaivijitnond, Director of Primate Research Unit at ChulalongkornUniversity,Bangkok
  • Assistant Professor Dr Panee Wannitikul of Suranaree University of Technology, specialist in bio-diversity and ecology
  • Professor Dr Pranom Chantaranothai of Khon Khaen University, a plant taxonomist who has offered to identify plants that macaques use as food and to study diversity of forest
  • Dr Joah Madden, Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology, University of Exeter, UK.

Phana is open to visitors

We are open to homestay visits by academics, students and volunteers who are interested in the project. All accommodation is about 10-15 minutes walk to the forest.

Forest in lower right corner

All preliminary enquiries should be addressed to:

For information (in Thai) about Phana Municipality go to: