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- or A Little Scare Goes a Long Way
- If you liked Part I, then click on the link for Part II where we meet some tutfed cuties!
- Related Posts
or A Little Scare Goes a Long Way
(this is a Part 1 of 2 posts about Labuk Bay and some wildlife adventures.)
Jim and I love to do anything related to wildlife. This was true before we lived in Alaska, but after eight years of living with some big and dangerous animals in our backyard, we seek out animal encounters or safaris wherever we. So when we went to Australia, Africa, and most recently Southeast Asia, we got out where we’d see animals, especially primates…like those adorable orangutans!
In this case, we decided to pay to go to a proboscis monkey sanctuary called Labuk Bay. As many privately owned animal sanctuaries are, it was a little pricier for a day pass than just down the road at the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre. We waffled, but the draw of wild animals convinced us to splurge. We had already been lucky enough to see them when driving through the palm plantations that take over the entire northeastern part of the island of Borneo, but proboscis monkeys are shy animals and stayed too far away for us to get any photos or see them very well.
At Labuk Bay, there are four feedings per day at two different viewing areas. We like to go as early as possible, so we planned on attending the first and second feedings and then deciding whether or not we wanted to do more.
The first feeding, at platform A, was at 9:30. We arrived a few minutes early, and there was only one other vehicle in the parking area, which looked like it belonged to the sanctuary. We were hoping that we would remain the only visitors, but of course we weren’t. However, there were only about ten people that morning, so there was plenty of room.
The first troop of monkeys was already there when we arrived. It was a bachelor group of about 25 or so. They regarded us warily, and one even snarled at my camera, but overall they were just waiting for the fruits to be delivered to the feed platform.
The two workers promptly emptied their basket of bananas and bread right on time and the bachelor group swung in and feasted, but not for too long. About 9:45, we noticed a new troop making their way to the platform. This was a harem group with one huge dominant male to lead them. They seemed to have established a set path, and every one of them took it. We watched while they deftly jumped from tree to tree and finally down on the platform. I’m not sure how the bachelors knew they were coming, but they did not want to be in the way.
The first group decided to move out of the way, grabbed some food to go and crossed the walkway to hang out in some trees to the rear of us. They occasionally hooted or grunted or howled, and a few of them would come closer to taunt the other male and then retreat.
Now, we’ve had some very interesting close calls with nature, and they are always a little unnerving to say the least. I like to call them “National Geographic” moments, and we were just about to experience another one.
Jim, Devon, and I were sitting on the bench facing the feeding platform mainly so I could prop up my camera and mega-lens. Now there are monkeys all around us, even a few traversing our platform. One of the bachelors must have gotten too close, and the dominant male from the other group let out a loud, booming, nasally howl, came bounding toward us, right towards us, so fast that there was no way for us to react. It took him only seconds to cross the 25 feet or so. He wasn’t after us, but the three of us were directly between him and his tormentor. He brushed us with his hand as he passed by. He practically landed on my lap. He chased the bachelor, pounding on the wooden boards with all four of his hands and feet. He slapped and grunted making a huge show out of being boss. It sure did get my heart pumping, let me tell you! (Jim did get a video of another time he did this. It’s certainly not great quality, but gives you an idea on how disconcerting the noise and show can be…especially when you are clearly in the path!)