Wild Man of Borneo! (Roger)
Trip Start Apr 15, 2010
30Trip End May 06, 2010
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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
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
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!