Monday, January 19, 2015

Exploring Borneo: The Headhunters and the Orang Utans

It’s funny how little I knew of this place I called home.

And as much as I pride myself of being a Borneo girl, with the blood of the headhunters flowing through my veins, I’ll have to admit that there’s still much left to see. Because let’s face it, we all tend to take things for granted especially when it involves things so close to home.

Up till now I’ve yet to climb the Mount Kinabalu. Nor dive in Sipadan, nor trek the great outdoors of Mulu. I’ve not even make it to Bario!

Yet during my recent trip to Padawan, Kuching – courtesy of the Sarawak Tourism Board and the Sarawak Bloggers, I’ve finally managed to strike one-off the bucketlist and that is to encounter the Orang Utans in the wild. Yep. 22 years old, grew up in Borneo and I’ve yet to see the Orang Utans, at least till now.

The trip was part of the Padawan White Water Rafting event (you can check out how they did it with just bamboo rafts and four man squad here!) where they literally brought us around, and that was pretty embarrassing considering that I’ve been to Kuching many times, even deeming it as close as my second home.

The Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, Sarawak

I was more than excited when I found out that we’re seeing the Orang Utans, having to fill the long drive with jittery vibes and chicken dance (like, yeay we’re seeing the Orang Utans!). The drive from Kuching City took roughly 30 – 40 minutes, depending on the traffic itself. Likewise you can always opt for Bus No.6 from Kuching City, as taxis would be really expensive. Last bus from Semenggoh Wildlife Centre would be around 5p.m, and I’ve been told that they’ll wait for the very last visitor. Entrance fee was really cheap, RM3 if I’m not mistaken.

As part of the Nature Reserve, The Semenggoh Wildlife Centre started out as a rehabilitation centre for almost 1,000 endangered animals, but it was widely known for its Orang Utan rehabilitation programme. To date the Wildlife Centre has successfully re-introduced countless Orang Utans back into the wild, nowadays playing a crucial role for the study of Orang Utan’s biological behavior.

Despite August being a fruitful season we were extremely lucky to be able to observe them, for that very same week there has been lack of appearances throughout feeding time due to the abundant fruits in the wild (which, is the foolproof that the rehabilitation is going well and they’re doing just fine on their own)

Imagine our luck when the Park Rangers spotted this nifty one on one of the trails, and off we went leaving behind the empty feeding station, scurrying across the Brooke’s Trail just to say hello to this chap over here.