Counting the monkeys


We have just completed our count of the Phana long-tailed macaques in preparation for the birth control operations that are due to take place next week. We  counted them in four locations as they prepared to go to sleep for the night. The newest group settles down near Ban Don Kwan, the others in the forest near the OPT offices, the pond and the viharn next to the main road. In total we counted 1,188 monkeys, in 6 different age & gender categories.




Phana Monkey Count  16 August 2016 – 25 August 2016

 Conducted by  Phana Monkey Project with assistance from students of Phanasuksa School. Count conducted from 18.15 – 18.45 after putting lines of uncooked rice in target area.

The totals were these:

Dominant adult males: 50         Young adult males:219

Nursing mothers: 204 + 206 infants (2 pairs of twins)

Other adult females: 165

Sub-adults (male & female): 216      Juveniles: 128

Juveniles were most likely under-counted, and it is also highly probable that up to 10% of the population was not feeding at the sleeping site when we were counting. So the real population is probably about 1,500.


Many thanks to the students from Phanasuksa School — we could not have done such an accurate count without them.

Posted in Birth control, Forest conservation & renewal, Long-tailed Macaques, monkey forest, Phana Monkey Project | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Birth Control Planning

Birth control for the long-tailed macaques of Don Chao Poo Forest, Phana, has been discussed for several years. The local council has been reluctant to take up the matter, fearing that it would make them unpopular with local people — their electorate. But as the population has soared (almost doubling in four years), the reverse has been the case. Local residents are beginning to find their property raided by more and more monkeys.

In actual fact, these raids are quite limited in frequency and location, but there is little doubt that they will become more frquent and more widespread if the population is allowed to continue growing at its current rate.

So at the end of this month, a team of veterinary surgeons and their assistants will arrive in Phana to conduct vasectomy procedures on adult and some sub-adult males. It is hoped to target up to 100 monkeys. Those who have been successfully vasectomised will be marked so that they won’t be entrapped in future.

The veterinarians were in Phana recently for a meeting hosted by OPT Phana, a sub-district council whose head offices are adjacent to the forest.

In the photo below you will see most of those who participated in the meeting.

Back row, from left to right:

Dr Pathompong (Director, Phana District Hospital), Dr Visit (Dusit Zoo), Mr Prawat, Mr Kanok (Mayor, OPT Phana), Dr Vichit (Director of Wildlife Conservation, Dept of Natural Resources, Lower Isan) and Dr Supagorn (Forestry Dept).

Front row, left to right:

Mrs Pensri (Phana Monkey Project), Mrs Suksi (Phana Municipality) and Dr Bongkotmat (Wildlife Conservation, Ubon).


Later the group went to the hospital to consider whether to use one of their rooms to carry out the operations. Here they are discussing the relative merits of the room offered by the hospital and one they had already looked at in the OPT offices.


Phana Monkey Project has undertaken to advise on the best locations for trap cages based on the home range of the 4 large troops of macaques that share residence in Don Chao Poo Forest.

A further meeting has been held to plan  community cultural events that will precede the actual medical procedures. You will be able to read more about those events here nearer to the time.

Posted in Birth control, Forest conservation & renewal, Long-tailed Macaques, Macaca Fascicularis, Phana Monkey Project | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Tree planting on mother’s day


360 trees of 10 different species were planted in Don Chao Poo Forest this morning. Today is a public holiday in Thailand — it is the Queen’s birthday and Mother’s Day is celebrated too.

About 30 people of all ages got together to plant the trees and when they had finished they had lunch and ice cream at a local restaurant.

Here are some of the trees waiting to be taken to the forest:




Loaded up and ready to go to the forest:


And here are some of the planters:

And a few of them enjoying their lunch:

It wil not be easy to monitor the new growth, but we will try to do so. We will be pleased if 50% survive.

Posted in Bio-diversity, Forest conservation & renewal, monkey forest, Plant Genetic Conservation Project, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

News from the Phana Monkey Project

Some changes have been made recently to our web presence. Firstly, we have changed the name of our Facebook Page to Phana Monkey Project. You can find it HERE.

Two young French students from EMLYON (based in Lyons, France) recently spent two months with us in Phana. Here they are in the forest in front of the Chao Poo shrine:

At the shrine.JPG

And here they are at work in our study centre:

at work.JPG

They left us with many changes / additions that we are very grateful for. Here are five of them:

our new logo:

Phana Monkey Project Logo.jpg

New signage for our litter bins:

Bin signage.JPG

We have many bones and skulls of long-tailed macaques, including some complete skeletons, but this is the first standing exhibit, now taking pride of place in the study centre exhibition:

standing skeleton.JPG

Then there is a video, which we hope will get the “put litter in the bins” message across. See it on our youtube channel Watch now.

And finally, they set up a new website for us. It has lots of information about the Phana Monkey Project, about Phana and how to get here, the forest, the monkeys and lots more. It is active HERE. Please make a note of the address, too:

For all of which, and more, we are really grateful. Thank you, Denis and Victor!


Posted in Litterbins, Dustbins, Long-tailed Macaques, Macaques, monkey forest, Phana Monkey Project, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Secret Forest

Most people who venture into the Thai monkey forest known as Don Chao Poo, Amphur Phana, in Amnat Charoen Province, don’t venture very far so what they know of the forest is the concrete road where most of the monkeys also spend their days.

But hidden away from the road, the forest presents a different face. Here is a sample of what lies out of sight.


This part of the forest is largely undisturbed by humans, although a few people search for mushrooms after the rain and some dead wood is removed. The monkeys use forest like this for their sleeping quarters but apart from a few solitary males, few monleys spend time here during the day. Butterflies are plentiful and you can hear birds but rarely see them. We should be (and are) pleased that some of the forest has been more or less untouched for the last 50 or so years.

Posted in Bio-diversity, Long-tailed Macaques, monkey forest, Phana Monkey Project, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Back to the forest

Two months away from Don Chao Poo Forest can seem like a very long time. Returning, we find some things have changed while others remain more or less as they were.

The rainy season has got started now so low-level vegetation is flourishing. On the other hand, some of the taller, older trees are losing small branches, and occasionally there is an explosion and a bigger branch comes crashing down. Unsurprisingly, this creates a brief uproar and panic amongst the monkeys.

Some monkeys well-known to us seem to have disappeared but we are hoping that as usual they will reappear before too long. In the meantime, more infants have been born and there are still some new pregnancies visible.

Here are a few photos from our first few days back in Don Chao Poo Forest:



Twins are not easy to move around …


… but they can be easier to manage sitting still. Not for long, though.


The monitor lizards that live in the hole you can see at the bottom of the next photo come out to sun themselves early in the morning. And to get a bit amorous, it seems.


Two bee colonies have been established since we left. They are both in locations identical to two that we saw two years ago.


Posted in Bees, Bio-diversity, Long-tailed Macaques, Monitor lizards, monkey forest, wildlife photography | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Children of the Forest

Another film posted by James Jefferies, made while he and Erin Ranney were filming in Phana. This film gives a close-up view of the interactions between monkeys and humans in Phana. Unlike the relationship between these two sets of primates in many parts of Thailand, the relationship here is almost totally harmonious. Long may it remain so.

Posted in Community action, Long-tailed Macaques, Macaques, Macaques habituated to humans, Phana Monkey Project, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment