Thursday, October 17, 2013

Borneo and the Orangs...part 1

So, at the end of my last post we were boarding The Orion....leaving Bali and setting sail for Borneo to see some monkeys at Camp Leakey in Central Kalimantan.

The Orion

Jimbaran Bay as we were leaving Bali....

A beautiful first night at sea......

After a day and a half at sea, we were up bright and early to board the Zodiacs and make the two hour trek up the Sungai Sekonyer to the Tanjung Puting National Park and Pondok Tanggui feeding station.

Of course, this was our Zodiac!  Fitting.
The local port....

Indonesia isn't all that clean........

But the kids are adorable!

As we made our way to the river, the expedition guides kept pointing out birds, monkeys, orangutans, etc.  The first couple of times, you're like "where?" but after two damn hours in a raft, you get pretty good at it also.

A Sea Eagle

Finally to the river...

Our local escort down the river.  These guys are eagle eyes....many years of spotting wildlife!

You'll notice that as the trip goes on, I get better at finding the monkeys in the trees with my camera.  You're going to have to look for them in the first few pics!!

Silver Leaf Mangabey (I think!)

The guides were able to spot this wild mature male orangutan on the non-national forest side of the river (we actually spotted two in two hours) which is a very rare sight, apparently!  You have to look close but he's hiding in there.

See the big cheek pads on each side of his face?  The mature males develop those.

A few families of Proboscis monkeys....

The monkeys in the trees laughing at the stupid humans!

Look at that pic and argue evolution to me......(actually, don't)

Locals on the river.....


We finally arrived (have I mentioned that we had to ride in that rubber raft for TWO HOURS??) we were greeted by the guides at Pandok orangutan feeding station in the national park.

We made our way down this long platform into the rain forest and met up with these guys.

There are two scheduled feedings every day.....10:00am and 2:00pm and it's quite amazing.  The feeders make their way to the platform and dump out a huge bag of bananas and fill the milk dishes.  Then they start making this howling call to the orangs and the magic happens....

They start swinging through the trees and bounding out of the forest to feast!  There is definitely a hierarchy and this big male was first to the platform.

Then the mamas and babies started arriving.

Pay attention to how the babies almost never stop touching their mothers.  This is constant for the first two to three years of their lives....if you're a mother, think about that for a minute.  When Dr. Galdikas rescued her first orphan baby orangutan she quickly became that babies surrogate mother and was quite shocked when the baby never broke contact....not even to sleep, shower, go to the bathroom....NEVER!!  For 2-3 years!

We were all sitting about 10 feet from the platform in plastic chairs with absolutely NO BARRIER between us and the orangutans.  They are extremely gentle and non-confrontational.....unless provoked.  We were told if approached to calmly step out of the way and let them pass by and everything would be fine.  And it was.  For our group.  But apparently not long ago, some jack-ass decided he would block one of their paths to snap his pictures and THEN thought it would be a great idea to mock a large male and act like he was an orangutan.  He's still getting plastic surgery after the male tore his face off.   Literally.   Idiot.

A few of them would come down, get their bananas and head back up the tree to eat.

When they were full, back into the forest they went!

This guy didn't quite understand the whole gravity concept!!

Next time, Camp Leakey!!

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