19 Jun Chiang Mai – Flight of the Gibbons
Flight of the Gibbons, Chiang Mai
For a group of friends their future was about to change when on a relaxed walk in the rain forest outside Chiang Mai in 2007, they came across a pair of Gibbons locked in a cage next to the road. The Gibbons had been abandoned to a certain death of dehydration and hunger and these nature lovers immediately rescued the rare, endangered species and slowly nursed them back to health, inspired to find a way to make an ecological difference in the world.
They went on to found Flight of the Gibbon, now a leading eco-adventure tour operator with exceptional rainforest zip-lines that claims to be one of the longest, highest and fastest in the world. But more than a top tourist attraction in Thailand, the Flight of the Gibbon invests a portion of their profits in primate rehabilitation, reforestation and environmental education programs.
As for the rescued Gibbons, they were named Tong Lorde (Golden Straw) and Tong Dee (Good Gold) and following much recuperation after living their lives in a cage, were released to live freely alongside the Flight of the Gibbon zip-lines and have gone on to produce young. Here when on an activity you can hear their calls and may even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of them.
Gibbons are rare, small, slender, long-armed, tree-dwelling apes. Because they are so dextrous while moving in the trees, almost no predators can catch them, but given the rapid deforestation of their habitats, gibbons are an endangered species. They are the fastest and most agile of all tree-dwelling, nonflying mammals and can walk along small branches like tightrope walkers. Like all apes, they have no tail, and spend much time grooming each other.
There are nine types of Gibbons, each with it’s own characteristic. They can be seen swinging from branch to branch for distances of up to 15m and at speeds of 50km/hand walk with their arms raised for balance. The Gibbons are omnivores and forage for food in the forests during the day, eating fruit, leaves, flowers, seeds, tree bark, and tender plant shoots. They also eat insects, spiders, bird eggs, and small birds.
Gibbons cannot swim and avoid the water. They are social animals that are active during the day so there is good chance you will see some while you fly. They live in small, stable family and are extremely territorial and use a hooting call to communicate. It is important to respect that they are wild animals and you should not get too close.
Giving Back To Nature
Flight of the Gibbon uses funds raised through their activities to support conservation themed education programs and fund a replanting program set to preserve Thailand’s indigenous trees.
They are committed to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of Gibbon, and to helping to reestablish populations in their natural habitat in Thailand. Unfortunately, Gibbons have been hunted for their meat or to be sold as exotic pets, and were going extinct in Chiang Mai before the intervention.
Regarding their reforestation, Maekampong is a mountain villages about an hour drive East of Chiang Mai and where the Flight of the Gibbon tour takes place. In 2008 they began working here with local villagers and the forest service to plant 500 trees in a deforested and overused area near the tour site. The forest department also helped them create a to help increase their reforestation efforts. In that first year they planted 2000 trees, and by 2014 had planted more than 30 000 tress, with 5000 set to be planted each year after that.
About the Course
When booking this experience you get to enjoy one of Asia’s longest and highest Zip lines either on your own or in tandem. Sky Ranger guides will take you through the 33 platforms that cover over 5km, each gently placed in the jungle’s 1500-year-old eco-system. While walking in the treetops you will have the opportunity to see rainforest wildlife, flowers and most importantly maybe spot the Gibbons. There are hanging sky bridges and beautiful views from the tree houses and platforms to enjoy. All the while knowing you are giving back to nature.
The Flight of the Gibbons experience includes zip lining, an awareness lesson in the vulnerability of the Gibbons, pick up and drop off from your accommodation, rainforest education
as well as traditional lunch with a local tribe.
Wanting more time in the area? Their other activities include kayaking, white-water rafting on the Mae Taeng River, Segway tours in Chiang Mai city, rock climbing and cave rappelling. You can also book a Thai culture and food tour for a glimpse into the lives of local artisans, their traditions and life in the mountains.
Learn more about their other activities offered at: https://www.treetopasia.com/