In commune with our simian friends, Sepilok

Posted: May 30, 2011 in Malaysia
Tags: , , ,

After the emotional and mental rollercoaster of Mt Kinabalu, a weary band of brothers arrived at the Mile 14 Junction on the road to Sandakan, the drop off point for the sleepy hamlet of Sepilok. A quick phone call summoned the promised lift and Nikki whisked us up the bumpy track to our home for the next 3 days, Paganakan Dii (try saying that after a few drinks).

Thankfully it was the perfect tonic to the rigours of physical exertion, a secluded bolthole tucked into the forest of a deer reserve, miles from anything resembling modernity. The open wooden bar and decking was enticing, as was the customary warm welcome from the staff, especially Nikki and Ella, two lovely local ladies (don’t worry my jani, you’re still wife material!). It was sweaty hot in the way that only humid equatorial countries can be and we were glad to be escorted to our AC licked cabana.

I had booked one of the new cabanas. Fashioned from local wood and built on stilts, each cabana is part of a pair with adjoining decking. Inside, the room is spacious, with a large double bed and single bunks. There are sliding doors that open onto a wooden balcony that affords sweeping views of the jungle and the river below. The ensuite is an outdoor number with modern bathroom suite and the calls of nature. For us it was bliss and after wolfing down a fat boy burger & chips (cultured us, you know) we hit the sack just after 20.00, completely exhausted.

Paganakan Dii B&B Sepilok, Borneo

Visiting our Orange Friends

We booked a visit to the Sepilok Orang-Utan Rehabilitation Centre on Thursday 26th so that bro could check out his genetic match, the wonderful Orang-Utan.

We took advantage of the free transfer from our place and rocked up just before the 3pm feeding. Unlike Sumatra, the feeding platform is set at ground level and is accessed via an impressive wooden walkway that winds through the forest. It’s also huge and can easily take 100 people, though thankfully there were far fewer on our visit.

We took our seat early and sat there, sweating slowly in the energy-sapping humidity. You can’t take any drinks in, they entice the furry critters, so after 30mins without water your mouth is like a parched desert. After a while we heard some branches twitching behind us and turned to see a young female and her baby making their way towards the feeding platform.

These set-ups are rather prescriptive and I tend to get distracted. On this occasion I walked off to take a peek away from the crowd and see if I could spot anything in the dense forest. As I turned the corner that led to the exit, I saw two young male Orang-Utans walking along the decking, playing. Though semi-wild and clearly part of the rehab program, they were not part of the feeding and were interacting naturally. I subtly called Si over and we followed them. It was a beautiful moment; they played like children and showed a genuine bond. Alas for us, a few gimp tourists had spotted and followed us, so I then had cameras shoved in front of my face as they fought to get the best picture. Still, the few minutes we enjoyed alone with the Orang-Utans were sweet.

No matter how touristic these experiences are, it’s still wonderful to see Orang-Utans, especially when the rehab program is designed to get them back into the wild and give them independence. Long may it continue.

Big nose, big libido

No it’s not a personal reference. On the Friday we headed over to the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Centre, a private reserve 14km west of Sepilok where the habitat of the simians is preserved and their lives protected. Again it is a sanitised wildlife experience but at least it ensures their continued survival.

During the 3hr visit we witnessed 2 feeding sessions and sat through an informative, if rather flawed, documentary explaining the history of the Proboscis programs in Borneo. The second feeding session was by far the most rewarding because there was only 1 other tourist there. We had an uninterrupted view of the proboscis and macaque monkeys as they greedily ate and frolicked in the grass.

The proboscis monkey is a fascinating specimen. Alpha males oversee large harems of females and father up to 20 children. Other males, evicted from their own family, unite to form bands of bachelors. These bachelors usually have a leader who will attempt to usurp an alpha male and take over a harem to mate with the females. Alpha males have to mate 3 or more times daily to keep the females happy. However, the females are easily distracted. It is the size and shape of the male’s nose that allures the female. A big, floppy nose means one thing only; this man’s hot to trot. During the second feeding session, we lucked in as one randy big nose went all Barry White on one of the cheeky females.

Proboscis monkeys getting it on, Labuk Bay, Borneo

If you zoom in you can see the look of excitement and the playing to the camera on her face. Women…..

Love jamer & bro senior x

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Comments
  1. Muneeza says:

    Dirty monkeys they obviously knew you were coming to watch. Sounds great love the Orang-utans hopefully you didn’t get chased this time…. x

  2. jamerguk says:

    Yep, I slipped them a few Ringgits and they played to the camera. She said to send her regards….

  3. Tim says:

    I thought you were joking about the look on her face. Looks like she’s loving it!

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