Friday, August 01, 2008

Wild time on the Sandakan floodplain

ONCE an important waterway for traders from far away China who sailed up the mighty Kinabatangan River in heavy junks that they would load with edible birds’ nests, two centuries later, Sabah’s longest river is still a hotspot.

But instead of sailing in junks from where the river flows into the Sulu Sea, travellers are now whizzing along in speed boats and vans so that they can catch a glimpse of diverse wildlife found at this eastern region of Sabah.

While the Kinabatangan floodplain is still home to the Gomantong Caves — where birds’ nests are today collected under strict monitoring by the Sabah Wildlife Department — it also shelters primates, birds, reptiles and rare mammals.

It is one of the very few places on earth that harbours 10 primate species, the most notable being the proboscis monkey which commonly lives in a large family led by a dominant male.

Male proboscis monkeys, which have large protruding noses, mingle freely with females and young off-springs in trees on the banks of the Kinabatangan and its tributaries.

The Long-tailed Macaque is another primate commonly found here and can be spotted swinging from tree to tree or playing on wire and rubber hose bridges built across the tributaries by Kinabatangan Orang Utan Conservation Project (KOCP), a local non-governmental organisation.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Wild time on the Sandakan floodplain

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