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Year 6 visit Dao Tien – Endangered Asian Species Trust (EAST)

As part of the Year 6 Residential Trip to Cat Tien, Year 6 students had the chance to visit EAST to see first-hand, the amazing work that they do to protect Vietnamese primates.  

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The Endangered Asian Species Trust (EAST) is a UK charity established by Monkey World-Ape Rescue Centre (UK) and the Pingtung Rescue Centre (Taiwan).

Their mission is to help conserve Asia’s endangered wildlife by:

  • Tackling the illegal wildlife trade in Asia, with a current focus on endangered primate rescue and  reintroduction in southern Vietnam.
  • Engaging communities through conservation education and awareness.
  • Encouraging responsible tourism, respecting wildlife and wild places.

It was an early start for the students who had to wake up at 4am to set off on a night safari ride. Everyone packed on to the Tai Lai bus and drove for 30 minutes through the national park to the headquarters. On the journey, the students were lucky enough to spot many deer and watch the sun rise before arriving to where we needed to get the ferry.

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Before we had even got on the boat to go to Dao Tien, students started to hear the morning call of the Golden Cheeked Gibbons in the national park. The forest came alive with their songs and many of the children could distinguish between the male and the female song. 

Year 6 then had a 5-minute boat ride to Dao Tien and were greeted by volunteers who escorted them to main education centre on the heart of the island.  Here, the students had their breakfast whilst listening to the morning songs of over 20 gibbons living on the island!

Hanne, one of the staff at EAST did a presentation to introduce the morning activities which were:

Enrichment – students were asked to make different food parcels with dried fruit and nuts for the gibbons and sleeping loris. Many of the gibbons at the centre are unable to be released into the wild due to disease or behavioural issues so it is important that they have something fun to do in the cages. Enrichment is really important to keep them thinking and keep them active.

Painting the EAST pump house - Year 6 were also given the task of helping EAST paint their pump house. Ms Ella has been working with Year 6 throughout term 2 to create an art piece using stencils. All students got stuck in with painting and did a fantastic job!

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Behavioural observation - Students were tasked with recording the behaviour of two young gibbons, Hoi and Vang, who are set for release in 1 year. Students sat up in the viewing tower and observed their movements - every two minutes they had to write down different information about what the gibbons were doing, how close they were, where in the tree they were positioned. This data is important for EAST to see whether these two gibbons are fit for release together soon.

Students had a great time learning about the work of EAST and gibbons that are currently living there. After a morning of activities, students were very happy to buy some gifts in the EAST shop – with all proceeds going to support their amazing work.

Thank you to Hanne, Marina and all of the staff at EAST for giving the students such a great experience!

Clover Sharman, Community Service Projects Manager

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