Wild Man of Borneo! (Roger)

Trip Start Apr 15, 2010
Trip End May 06, 2010

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Flag of Malaysia  , Sabah,
Wednesday, April 28, 2010

So we decided to go see the orangutans yesterday, after all, when in Borneo...

Our guide and a driver picked us up at our hotel after lunch and drove us to the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation center which was only 30 minutes away.  After paying about $3 (10 MR) for each camera we began walking along the raised iron wood boardwalk through the extra-thick rain forest jungle.  The jungle sounds were extraordinary.

After about a 5 minute walk we arrived at an observation deck which was obviously built to hold a couple of hundred people but we were the only ones there!  We picked a spot closest to the tree-platform across the way where we anticipated the orangutans would come to be fed.  We were told "if we were lucky" we'd see perhaps 3 young orangutans and possibly a mother.  We got to the observation platform at about 2:30 pm in anticipation that the feeding would take place at 3 pm.  We immediately saw macac monkeys on the platform, also anticipating the feeding.

Shortly before 3pm we saw an orange flash through the jungle canopy on the ground and realized an orangutan was making his way toward the feeding.  Then he climbed onto our observation deck before being led away by one of the park Rangers.  (It was pretty funny - it looked like he was being whisked out of the grocery store by a parent for whining a bit too much, although the Ranger was being very gentle.)  We realized then that the orangutans were free to go where ever they wanted, including the "people area" and the feeding platform was more of a "suggestion" than a hard and fast rule for the residents.

At 3pm two orangutans followed by the ranger climbed onto the feeding platform and tried to shoo away the macacs (to no avail - they harassed the orangutans incessently although the orangutans got the lion's share of the bananas).  The ranger fled quickly before he was overrun by macacs and the monkeys and apes fended for themselves.

When the food was gone the orangutans hung around for a bit to see what the audience looked like.  By this time there were about 25 - 30 people present, but many of them left as soon as the feeding was over.  With about 10 people left in attendance, one orangutan made her way back up to our platform and calmly hung out with us.  I got the impression it was "Q & A" time, but didn't think she was going to answer any of my direct questions.  So I just took pictures instead.  She didn't seem to care how close we got to her as long as no one tried to touch her (which one fool did and was rebuked for it).  We all got a lot of great photos and a very close-up look at this 6 - 7 year old.

Her eyes were amazing - she actually made eye contact with most people there.  And it wasn't a fleeting glance; she would actually look us in the eye and it appeared she was trying to figure out what we were thinking.  We hung out with her for close to 45 minutes before she decided to head off and the Rangers kicked us out of the park.

Meantime, we also saw several orangutans swinging on the ropes between trees and playing on the platforms.  Everyone got some great photos.  In all, we saw 7 different orangutans which was quite a different experience from the morning visitors who saw NONE!

Very cool!


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k on

Aw...I am so thrilled an entire blog dedicated to the 'wild men of the forest' - beloved orangutans - thank you Roger! You guys are churning out one great literary piece after another. I can't believe how close you were to the orangs, amazing!

k on

Oh, cameras for only 10 Malaysian ringgits? Wow!

smgiles on

Jane and Gerry, can we have an oragutang? PLEASE? I PROMISE to walk it and everything!
Wonderful photos. What a marvelous experience.
Enjoying your travels as I sit in a windowless office over lunch...

f on

I think they just recognized their relatives. Chillin needs a toothpick !

Mark on

Fabulous, but did Gaz make it out ?
Mark :-o

Rocky on

G & J... WOW what an adventure. Love the photos and comments you all look so healthy. Some very beautiful places and great memories for all. Thanks for sharing. R

Sue on

Starting my day with some serious envy going on. Thanks for the pics they are wonderful.
x Sue

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