Flight of the Gibbon™ Rainforest Conservation Projects:
Protecting Thailand's Eco-System
A percentage of our profits go to rainforest rehabilitation and protecting the rare Gibbon ape!
Planet of the Gibbons
You don’t need to be an astronaut and crash land on another planet to see apes rule their world. At Flight of the Gibbon, the rainforest is ruled by apes. Gibbons are a small ape that most countries consider an endangered species. Flight of the Gibbon uses treeplanting efforts and a percentage of its profits to help save the gibbons and their rainforest habitat. Read more about gibbons.
Giving Back To Nature
Gibbon Basecamp (our program for schools and corporate leadership development) and Flight of the Gibbon are dedicated to preserving the balance of nature throughout Thailand’s precious rainforests. This includes the protection of Asian wildlife. A percentage of our profits go to rainforest rehabilitation and protecting the rare Gibbon ape and other native primates, such as the crab-eating macaques in Northern Thailand. We support ecological education programs and fund a re-planting program to preserve Thailand’s native trees. We also invite schools and corporations to get involved with our tree-planting projects.
Gibbon Release Program
The Gibbon Rehabilitation and Release program, which has been in operation for 4 years, is a joint venture between Flight of the Gibbon and the Thai government. Flight of the Gibbon is committed to re-establishing the Gibbon population in its natural habitat. This is a major success for the Gibbon Conservation Program and raises hopes of a stable, established population in Thailand’s rainforests. Read about our baby gibbons.
Deforestation, over-hunting and overuse of land in many parts of Thailand have all contributed to a general decline in the health of the forest ecosystems, including primate populations. While our canopy tour takes place in a beautiful, pristine old-growth rainforest where the plant ecology is primarily intact, some areas near our site have suffered from decades of overuse. A truly healthy ecosystem that can support a wide range of plants and animals needs a very large area for animal populations to stabilize. From the inception of Flight of the Gibbon™, it was our goal to minimize the impact of bringing tourist to this amazing place and restore the surrounding areas to once again be a stable, healthy, functioning ecosystem.
Our first goal for the Rainforest Conservation is to work with the local villagers and experts in the field to find the causes for the decline in ecosystems. We then team with the locals and restoration experts to bring back the forest in a way that will last. Our second goal is education. We want to engage and educate people who come to enjoy the canopy tour. We want to give each person a unique, unforgettable experience when they come to Thailand, but also provide them with a new found curiosity about what is happening with the ecosystems in their own countries. Maybe they will become inspired to engage and start working on environmental issues at home too!
We are going to great lengths to do this restoration work the right way. That is why we teamed up with Dr. Stephen Elliot and the Forest Restoration Research Unit of the Biology Department at Chiang Mai University (FORRU). They literally wrote the book on restoring tropical forests. They have been with us throughout the restoration process, from conception, to our present work, and helped developed our long term strategy.
Maekampong is a mountain village about an hour East of Chiang Mai and is where the Flight of the Gibbon™ tour takes place. In the beginning of July, 2008 we worked with the local villagers and the forest service to plant 500 trees in a deforested and overused area near the tour site. Dr. Stephen Elliot and FORRU designed a restoration program based on the damage and location. Some bamboo in the area was removed and nine different species, both saplings and more mature trees were planted. The forest service also helped us create a nursery so we are in a position to sustain and increase our reforestation efforts year after year.
Mae On Area
Mae On village, which is about 30 minutes East of Chiang Mai, has one of the last known primate groups in the area. These primates, known as Crab-Eating Macaques, or Ling Samae in Thai, are dwindling in numbers, and it is not clear why. In response to this, we have created the Primate Habitat Restoration Project. It is a collaboration among the Mae On villagers, the local temple, FORRU, the forest service and Flight of the Gibbon™.
We have three primary goals for this project. The first goal is to find out why the primate numbers are declining. Nichar Gregory of the University of East Anglia in the UK is coordinating a study to find out more about their habitat, their current food sources, their population, and why their numbers are declining.
Our second goal of the Primate Habitat Restoration Project is to plant fruit-bearing trees in a protected area to provide a food source and refuge for the primates. On Sunday, July 13th 2008, volunteers from the project planted the first 1500 fruit trees on 3 rai near Muang Cave. We have added thousands of trees to that throughout the years. It is our goal to double the planted area every year!
And finally our third goal is to reach out to tourists coming to Thailand about the issues we are facing here.
Our problems in Maekampong and Mae On are not new. Ecosystems are declining all over Thailand and the world. This is just the little piece that we can make a difference. We hope that by bringing outsiders in, and letting them become intimate and excited about these magnificent rainforests and animals, they can take away a sense of appreciation and become inspired to go back and engage with the ecological issues in their own country.