Sunday, August 11, 2013

Borneo: orangutans, proboscis monkeys, bats, a huge flower and cake!

Kuching is the biggest Malaysian city in Borneo and also the capital city of the state of Sarawak.  Did you know that the Island of Borneo is made up of three countries - Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia.

Day One - Semenggoh Orang Utan Rehabilitation Center

The Orang Utan (we say orangutans), known as the "man of the forest", can only be seen in Borneo and Sumatra.

Richie is the large alpha male of the group at Semenggoh Orang Utan Rehabilitation Center.  You can tell a male from a female as a mature male has large cheek pads.  Adult males can reach a height of 5 ft and can weigh up to 220 lbs.  We were lucky to see Richie as he had not been spotted for several days.

If you go to visit the orangutans you need to make sure it is the right time of the year.  During "fruiting season" the orangutans do not come to the viewing area for food as they can get all the food they need in the jungle.

Orangutans are primarily fruit eaters but they also feed on young leaves, insects, bark, flowers, eggs and small lizards.  The orangutans at this center are considered semi-wild because they do get food from the rangers during the dry season.

Females are about three quarters of the height, and half the weight of the males. They have a low reproductive rate and only give birth to a single infant once every 7-8 years.  The life expectancy of orangutans in the wild is unknown.  They can live more than 50 years of age in captivity.

Orangutans have a very large arm span.  A males arms can stretch seven feet from fingertip to fingertip, a reach considerably longer than his standing height of about 5 feet.

Orangutans are an endangered species and are protected by law in Malaysia, Indonesia, and internationally.

Day Two - Bako National Park & Sea Stack Rock Formation

We boarded a small boat for a 25-minute ride to Baku National Park.  The scenery was stunning.  Millions of years of erosion of the sandstone created a coastline of steep cliffs with cool shaped sea stacks (vertical rock formations) and colored patterns in the rock formed by iron deposits.

The most well known sea stack in Bako looks like a cobra head coming out of the water.

Look at that blue sky and green water!  I can now say I have dipped my toe in the South China sea!

Bako is a rainforest and the oldest national park in Sarawak, Borneo.

The park's most famous resident is the bizarre looking Proboscis Monkey.  Borneo is the only place you can find this monkey.  It is hard to see the monkey in the shot below, but I wanted to provide one photo that gives you the feel of the rainforest and how far up in the trees the Proboscis Monkeys live.