Day 7 -03 Jan 2012 – Kuching
Ta da – today is the day – going to Semmengoh Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Wahoo ! I have been looking forward to seeing orang-utans in the ‘wild’ for a very long time and seeing them was one of the primary reasons for coming to Borneo.
The park has a number of rehabilitated and semi-rehabilitated orang-utans living within its 750 or so acres. The orang-utans are collected from villages where they have been kept as pets and once rehabbed are returned to the wild, and hopefully, unlike Lyndsay Lohan, they don’t come back. The park has been going since the 70’s and there have been a number of babies born there. I was really hoping to see a young one. The park has daily feedings at 9.00 am and 3.00 pm when visitors are allowed in to see the orang-utans. Unfortunately it is local fruit season so there is plenty of food available in the forest (probably not so unfortunate for the O’s I guess) so there is never a guarantee that we will see anything at all.
Naturally, when I got up it was pouring with rain, after three relatively fine days it was a bit disappointing, but nevertheless we decided to carry on and head out to the park. We left just after 7.30 for the 20km trip to the park for the 9.00 am feeding session and got there just in time! As today was a work day and the first day back at school for some the traffic was worse than Aucklands!
The rain had stopped by the time we had walked down to the feed area which was great as I really wanted to be able to grab some photos. There was about 30 tourists there, lots of Europeans so hopefully that means plenty of people to hang with when I am out on my own ! We hung around the feeding spot for a while and then got the message that one of orang-utans had appeared at another feed station we (slowly – some old buggers there) made our way over to where the action was. Looking up as we walked we spotted a large hairy orange blob up in the tops of the trees, he moved over to a rope above one of the rangers and hung there for a while, before clambering down a tree and taking a piece of fruit and climbing back up to eat. The O that came to see us was Annuar. He went up and down the tree a couple of times to eat and after about ten minutes climbed back to the tops and swung away on a vine back into the forest – that swinging was so cool. For a large ungainly looking beast they are incredibly graceful in the trees and very quick ! I managed to snap a few photos, I am really glad i bought the long zoom lens as all these were shot on 200mm, the 20mm would have been hopeless. Naturally Annuar managed to stay in a position where we were all shooting into the light!
It was a great experience and I am so glad I came out, I missed seeing a young one, but you never know on the day how many (if any) will come to feed. When I am in Sabah later on my travels I will also go to the Sepilok park as well, plus real wild ones are seen on occasion, so you never know !
After a slooooooow journey back into town Alex and I had mee jawa for lunch at Kopi o corner. (mee means noodles). This was another delicious chicken and noodle dish, the amount of chilli seems to be increasing per meal 🙂
I am really liking the default motor scooter fashion of wearing your jacket back to front, I have been trying to snap a good sample, and this was the best I managed. My favourite one had the hood up over the mouse and nose, but sadly it was coming the other way in traffic so I did not manage to get a shot at it.
Once we got back to the apartment (and after a wee lie down) we popped upstairs to see my old Hudson colleague, Andy’s sister and I delivered the Christmas presents I had brought over from NZ from him for his nephews. Claire and her family have been living in Borneo for a few years now but are packing up and moving to NSW fairly soon. They had an amazing view from their apartment. Claire gave me the phone number of some friends in Kota Kinabalu where I will be visiting in Sabah in a few days or so, which is great !
So, a good day ! I saw an orang-utan !