Where we meet some tufted cuties and have a completely different experience than in the morning.
This is Part II of our visit to Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary where we witnessed testosterone at work! You might want to read Part I first!
After our viewing at Platform A where our heart was about jumping out of our chests from the excitement, we were pretty sure that there was no way the second viewing could be as rewarding, but Borneo has definitely lived up to its wonderful wildlife reputation! We were even more sure of it once we arrived and saw that Platform B was much more than a feeding platform, but an entire building where people lived, and there were a lot of other offerings such as a store to buy souvenirs and snacks and a theater to watch the movie. When the first busload of tourists piled onto the platform we were up to about 50 people. This was definitely not going to be the same intimate setting.
As we were waiting, we decided to watch the movie which was all about proboscis monkeys and very interesting. It not only gave us all the scientific facts, but followed the lives of a harem group and a bachelor trying to start his own family. It was pretty good, and I recommend that anyone that visits Labuk Bay should take the time to include it in their day.
Afterwards, we wandered through the crowds of people, watching the resident silver leaf monkeys. These cute little gray, tufted monkeys lounged all over the building and were quite at home. They played, ran, ate, and did just about everything right there while we were waiting for the proboscis feeding to commence.
We were surprised to learn and see for ourselves that the very young silver leaf monkeys are a golden color. This doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to me as far as “survival of the fittest” theories are concerned, but maybe it is so they can locate them easier. I found the mother-baby-extended family relationships fascinating. One monkey would be holding a baby, all snuggled up, and then another adult would come up and take the baby and snuggle it for a while. They were definitely all caring for the infants together.
I’m not a fan of huge tourist buses of people being in the same place I am, but I was appalled at one of the tour leaders. She obviously had Labuk Bay as a regular tour, because she knew the silver leaf monkeys, and even tried to take a baby from one of them to hold it. She wasn’t successful, but not from lack of trying. Thankfully, none of the tourists followed suite.
Then a huge male proboscis monkey showed up and sat on the railing within a few feet of the nearest person. She walked right up to him, called her tour participants and had about three or four of them all stand right next to him to get their picture taken. He put up with them and didn’t do anything, but again I felt it was bad training. Yes, the monkey might have felt comfortable with her there, but just like the dog next door who is friendly when his family is home might bite you if you try to pet him while they are gone, a wild animal could do much more damage! I thought it was completely irresponsible as many of the tourists were feeling very comfortable walking by him, poking a camera in his face.
The feeding came and went. Yes, there were plenty more proboscis monkeys that were fun to watch. The young ones played; the old ones ate and took care of the young. We saw one baby completely fall off the platform and it was interesting to see how all the females rushed to it to make sure it was fine. Just like any toddler, he was shaken up but within minutes was tumbling and running and up to all his antics.
Honestly, at the second feeding I was much more enthralled with the silver leaf monkeys. They were so calm and understanding. One little guy crawled up on the railing beside Devon and me and reached out to hold our finger. He just sat there holding it….so cute!
About a kilometer and a half from Platform B there is the Labuk Bay Resort. We didn’t stay there, but we did go for lunch. The lunch was much more expensive than you would pay in Sandakan, but we really enjoyed sitting on the wooden veranda with the fans blowing and just relaxing.
As an overall experience, I highly recommend going to Labuk BayProboscis Monkey Sanctuary. We completely enjoyed our day and as with Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, each viewing was completely different. I think it is always best to go as early as possible. Our Platform A experience was amazing!
What do you think about animal sanctuaries? Have you been to Sabah? We’d love to hear your thoughts!