another publication by IMAGE asia

South Thailand Wildlife

One of the world’s great land bridges only 18,000 years ago, Borneo, Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula were all one land mass. Wildlife, including humans, could walk to Bali or Palawan, Philippines. The Bramany Kite – (Haliastur Indus) didn’t care. An apex aviator of the Raptor family, the highly maneuverable Bramany can fly anywhere it wants.

Thanks to Mom, I started rehabbing wildlife in 1950 when I was five years old. Thanks to Dad, I built my first kayaks in 1955 when I was 10. Both activities allow me great wildlife photos. Enjoy some favourite Phuket shots.

  1. The Crab Eating Macaque (Macaca fascicularis) is a highly resourceful, human-like primate. This one lectures a homo sapiens californiacus (in hat) that all primates are created equal. Please don’t feed its relatives. Bananas and human garbage food don’t grow on limestone islands, and are very harmful to macaques.
  2. This infant Banded Water Monitor (Varanus salvator) was sunning itself on a 'Hong Yai' rock a metre from my kayak in a spot few humans ever see. What a treat!
  3. The White Belly Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) is an apex predator in our limestone isles. Rehabbing them is my hobby, and 'Baby' still hangs out at British International School. If you see it, please say 'Aloha'.
  4. This Golden Tree Snake (Chrysopelea ornata ornatissima) ventured into my Thai style house to nick some gecko eggs. Bad idea – the tokay almost ate the snake, which retreated into the jungle.
  5. I rehabbed this juvenile Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela) after it flew into a sliding glass door in Phuket City. When I released it five days later on Cape Panwa, the mother was calling it from across a ravine. Felt so good I cried.
  6. We think the colony in Koh Penak’s bat cave are probably Intermediate Roundleaf Bats – (Hipposideros larvatus) but I don’t want to kill one just to check it’s dental pattern to be sure. Don’t worry, they are insect eaters, and won’t turn you into a vampire.
  7. I found this Brown Wing Kingfisher (Pelargopsis amauroptera) baby when it was just out of the nest. I studied it for six months until it flew free from the parents. On Christmas Day it 'flew the coop'. This was my last shot. I still say 'Aloha', but can’t get close enough for photos.
  8. My old wooden Thai house has a colony of stunningly beautiful Tokay Geckos (Gekko gecko). One day I saw a Praying Mantis. As I focused the Gecko took its meal. A few months later, another mantis entered my house and I made an entire macro-study of these fearsome insects – just a meal for a Tokay.
    South Thailand Wildlife
  9. Green Sea Turtles (Chelonia mydas) are my 'Amakua' (Hawaiian family god) but I went 21 years in Thailand before I saw one in the wild. Then it was two mating off Tarutao. I call this shot 'purpose of life'.
  10. Eagles love a shower. This juvenile White Belly escaped the animal prison in Chalong until its primary feathers grew back and it flew free. Don’t have your pictures taken with raptors or any wildlife. Let them go free.
  11. The Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris) is the Sunda shelf’s most humorous character. I love talking with these gregarious creatures and still haven’t figured out how they can fly – somehow they do! We have a colony at our overnight campsite which serves as our alarm clock.
  12. John 'Caveman' Gray (right) accepts a SKAL Internatioal Ecotourism Award 2008 from SKAL's International President at the SKAL World Congress in Taipei.
  13. This timid Crab Eating Macaque is just venturing away from Mama. It had no idea its world included a white bearded Ling Yai.
  14. The Blue Spotted Mudskipper (Boleophthalmus boddarti) is 'Evolution fish'. Its Gobiidae ancestors were the first vertebrates on land. ectoral fins allow walking in mud and air sacs allow breathing in water or air. Like all guys, they jump around when spawning.

For more information contact:
John Gray Sea Canoe Co., Ltd.
124 Soi 1 Yaowarat Rd., Taladyai, Muang, Phuket
Tel: +66 (0)76 254505-7, +66 (0)84 844 1807
Email: [email protected]


  Photo gallery : South Thailand Wildlife