The Phana Monkey Project was created in 2010 in memory of Pensri Mahanil Whiting’s parents, Ta Rin and Yai Homhuan Mahanil. Rin and Homhuan Mahanil spent their lives teaching in Phana. Rin was instrumental as Chairman of the Village Development Committee in having the local forest declared as a conservation area and sanctuary for the long-tailed macaques residing there. Their descendants were concerned about the family house built by Rin and Homhuan Mahanil since it had stood empty for some years. Funds were first donated by the family and then by other Phana villagers in order to restore the family home. The Mahanil house was set up as an educational facility and a centre for research that focused on the forest.
A Committee was created to produce project goals, as well as supervise the use of project funds. Thus the Phana Monkey Project was given a private trust fund, which does not require registration. This means that funds can be used at any time and no fixed capital has to be established.
Following, the Don Chao Poo Research Centre and the Rin-Homhuan Mahanil Study Centre were registered with the Data Centre, Ministry of Culture, on 8th March 2012. These two facilities, under the umbrella of the Phana Monkey Project, are currently funded by personal donations and by income received from volunteers and students accommodated at the Research Centre.
Phana Monkey Project has involved students of the schools of Phana as well as foreign students and volunteers. We have collaborated closely with Phana Municipality, Phana sub-district Administration, Thai Traditional Medicine Centre, Phana, and Phana District Hospital.
PMP is not currently undertaking any research of our own but we are open to enquiries from suitably qualified individuals who wish to carry out small-scale and short-term studies of the long-tailed macaques and/or their environment and relationship with humans. ‘Suitably qualified individuals’ may include anyone with a scientific interest in macaques whether they are currently following an academic course or not.
The population of long-tailed macaques in Don Chao Poo Forest make an interesting study in terms of behaviour and preliminary work has been carried out to establish an activity time-budget. Preliminary work has also been done on mother/infant care. Other avenues of study could include the following:
- breaking down the population of Macaca fascicularis (long-tailed macaque) by group size, gender and age and to establish the rate of population growth
- monitoring and evaluating the human provisioning of the macaque population and the inter-group aggression that arises from this provisioning
- the behaviour and ranging of all-male groups
- colour preference at feeding sites
- reaction of monkeys to toy crocodiles, snakes etc
Field Positions and Volunteers: Student placements and volunteers will be most welcome to help us further the project. Interest need not be confined to the objectives listed above.
We would to thank our academic advisors who have been a great help to the Phana Macaque Project :
Dr Suchinda Malaivijitnond (Director, Primate Research Unit, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand); Dr Joah Madden, (Animal Behaviour Group, Pyschology Department, Exeter University, UK); Dr Visit Arsaithamakul (Veterinary Surgeon at Kao Kiew Park Zoo, Chonburi, Thailand); Dr Michael David Gumert, Asst. Prof, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; Assistant Professor Kasem Kulpradit (Faculty of Environment & Resource Studies, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand).