Run by volunteers and financed by donations, the Gibbon Rehabilitation Center in Phuket rescues gibbons (a type of ape) that have been held in captivity, then rehabilitates them before safely reintroducing them to the wild. Gibbon poaching is a serious problem on Phuket, with poachers stripping the jungle of these beautiful creatures and then parading them around bars and other tourist areas.
At the Gibbon Rehabilitation Center, gibbons are retaught how to live in the jungle. They are socialized with other gibbons and introduced to what should be their natural food. The center is not a petting zoo, so there is no touching of the animals, although visitors are free to watch them from a viewing platform and talk to the volunteers about the work done at the center.
Insider's Tip: You can help the Gibbon Rehabilitation Center’s mission by avoiding bars that house them around Thailand and ignoring the gibbon handlers that ask for money in exchange for photographs with the monkeys on city streets. By paying for these photos, tourists are contributing to the suffering of these animals and a reduction in their population.
The Gibbon Rehabilitation Center and the Center for Conservation Education and Fundraising are both located in the Khao Pra Theaw National Park at the Bang Pae Waterfall. You’ll find it about six miles (10 km) northeast of the Heroines Monument. While the rehabilitation center is free to enter, donations are encouraged. It costs 200 THB to enter the national park in which the center is located.