Sabah is a part of Malaysian federation and is smaller than Sarawak. When we traveled to Sandakan from Kota Kinabalu we passed national park with stunning views of the mountain picks and while the bus was climbing up and down we could admire the snow covered picks of Mount Kinabalu.
Beautiful views just slightly disturbed by ‘asian’ style of driving. In case you wander it means the biggest vehicle has right a way or fast and furious;-)
Sandakan itself is bit sad town with short water front and few hotels. However it is surrounded by a jungle so the vast green areas are everywhere and it brightens the town up a little.
We visited Sepilok Orangutans rehabilitation center and it was awesome. We saw so many of them and not only. They are such a beautiful animals and I love the color of their fur! I wish my hair was red like that:-) We also saw makaks and visited Sun bear rehabilitation center.
Its just across the road from the orangutans and yet the apes are taking all attentions. Like us most of people do not realize but there are bears living in the rain forests. They are not on the en-dangerous species list but the animals in the center were rescued from stupid people who kept them as pets or tried to sell for their gold bladder.
The stations does great job and we spent almost 3 hours observing those lovely animals. The bears are like miniature black bears and grow up to 160 cm and 60 kg but the one we saw were a way smaller. They hang on the trees most of the time and only wander down when they are hungry. The staff at the center was very informative and it showed they know what they do.
We also visited proboscis monkey sanctuary, which made me doubt its sanctuary status. The behavior of staff there made me think that the monkeys are to attract tourist and photo shots. We saw loads of proboscis and silver head monkeys but the way the feeding took place left my with bitter aftertaste.
At all centers we visited we were always told that guests and staff should not interfere with the animals however it was other way around there. Once all tourist were on the viewing platform staff started calling the monkeys and once they came they fed the with bread and cake! and encouraged them to ‘mix’ with guests on the viewing platform where they feed the with long beans from hand.
‘The show’ was purely for tourists amusement as some of them went crazy with their cameras taking close shots of pure animals into their faces. After the feeding we were taken for lunch and then ushered to TV room where we watch some para-documentary about the monkeys with some sleazy comments done by some ignorant prick.
It praised the owner of the oil plantation where the ‘sanctuary’ was based for helping the animals. I guess Mr Lee, the owner, completed some training from corporate social responsibility and applied it in truly ‘Asian’ style. If I had a choice I would not have gone there one again.
Nonetheless , the animals were beautiful and there were so many of them that I got my fix of monkeys for a while. I guest what helps is that at least they are not kept in the cages and maybe at some stage in the future the center will turn into its real purpose.
We also had loads of laugh because proboscis monkeys live with packs with one dominant male who copulates whenever he is ready. And he is ready a lot so we watched some monkey sex with bunch of older Asians who giggled like crazy and started making monkey noises themselves. It was hilarious;-)
Continue reading at: Kicalduk: Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia.