|We had decided not to go on the travel company's day trip to Phi Phi island but to do our own thing. We were told about a Gibbon Rehabilitation Programme that had been set up in a National Park in the North East of the island. It sounded different so our guide had organised a mini bus & driver to take us the hour drive to the park.
We had to pay about £4 each to get in the park but the Gibbon Rehabilitation centre does'nt charge so a cheap deal. We were met by an English guy who works as a volunteer & he told us all about the Programme. The GHP get their animals from various sources & then retrain them ready for release back into the forest. Apparently the baby gibbons are popular as pets & also used at bars & clubs as an attraction for their customers. The problem is that once the gibbons get to about six years old they grow four big incisor teeth & become naturally aggressive. This makes them less desirable & they are either abandoned or have their teeth filed down.
The GPH do their best to make sure that they rescue any such animals which then have to be taught how to survive for themselves in the forest. The centre has a quarantine area where they check all the animals carefully. Visitors to the centre can see the animals that are being rehabilitated but only from outside their compounds. One or two are permanent residents as they are not considered able to look after themselves. One particular one was a female who had been a pet but had bitten the owners child. The owner had then taken a rock & crushed one of her paws. she also had a damaged leg & had a foot amputated when it became diseased. She would not be able to survive in the forest & find enough food so she stays in the compound where she is well looked after.
A most rewarding visit & to cap it all we were able to walk another 300 metres into the forest to visit the nearby waterfall. Not the biggest we have seen but a nice diversion before returning back to our hotel late in the afternoon. As it turned out the others in our party who went on the Phi Phi trip were all sick on the boat on the way there & there were loads of boats & people over running the popular tourist spot.
We had the local version of fish & chips in the evening followed by a banana & chocolate pancake, bought from one of the many small roadside stalls. Even bumped into a family of Finnish geocachers searching for the cache we actually logged on our walk yesterday. We gave them a little help as it was very dark & they couldn't find their torch.