Tiny Tarsiers and Black Crested Macaques
Trip Start May 20, 2010
195Trip End Sep 05, 2011
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Day : 140
Temperature : 33 degrees
Weather : Overcast
With our ear infections being treated with antibiotics and a few days to kill until we could go diving again we decided to head to the Tangkoko National Park to see some wildlife. Most of the accommodation is in the village of Batuputih, about an hour from Manado. There are only a handful of places for the backpacker to stay in Batuputih, and they are all cashing in on the handful of tourists that make their way to the park. Prices are high and standards are pretty low but there are no alternatives so you just have to go with it.
We paid 85,000 Rupiah each for a two hour trip in the evening to see the Tarsiers which are now found in only a handful of regions in South East Asia. We would have been happy to pay more for an experienced guide who could tell us all about the wildlife. Unfortunately there seemed to be a distinct lack of English speaking guides, and the best guide we could find spoke only a spattering of English and referred to the Tarsiers as "little monkeys". He wore flip flops and shorts, smoked like a chimney, banged the trees in an attempt to get the tarsiers out, and unsurprisingly fed the tarsiers despite us asking him not to. Say no more! The information we have gleaned has come from the internet I'm afraid, but in a nutshell these incredible little creatures are about the size of a human fist and weigh only 200 grams at the most. Their huge eyes are so big that they cannot rotate them within their sockets and so they have the ability to rotate their head 180 degrees. They live in groups and have incredibly powerful hind legs that allow them to jump 10 times their height...quite amazing.
In addition to the tarsiers we also saw the Sulawesi Black Crested Macaque which, as the name suggests, is only found in Sulawesi. We have wanted to see these macaques since visiting the World Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition in London a few years ago, when one of the winning pictures was of these macaques sitting on the rocks by the black volcanic sandy beach....it was quite a picture and in a different world compared to our basic level of photography. Unfortunately the light was fading when we were in the park and we didn't get any half decent photos at all, although we have managed to put one on our blog just so that you can see.
We had a slight change of plans and decided to head to the world famous Lembeh straits in the hope of seeing some underwater critters before heading to Manado in a couple of days time. Fingers crossed the ears are better and we can go diving tomorrow...