Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Day 3: Messing with the Monkeys

It was our third day in Kuching but frankly, it felt like six days the way we've been running around doing this and that. Today was Saturday and we had planned to visit the Sunday market at Satok( I know, Sunday Market on Saturday?! Where's the logic? )

Anyway, to kill time, we discovered another place to visit: the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre which also does rehabilitation for orang utans which have been mistreated or displaced by humans. Chris also joined us as he hadn't any plans.

As usual, we had our faithful shuttle bus service to bring us there. Only rm20 back and forth. On our transport, we met a couple from Kwangtung. Wow, original Cantonese sounds even more different from Hong Kong Cantonese.

Anyway the trip only took about half an hour, I think. We had to reach early at 9.00am to catch the orangutans at their feeding time at 9.30am. Since we arrived early, there was nothing to do except wait around and take artsy fartsy photos.

Artsy Fartsy Orchids

The orangutan doll to collect donations (Entrance was free!)

At 9.30am, we gathered at the entrance to the feeding area where the guy below gave us a briefing about how not to excite the monkeys, don't use flash, how wild the orangutans were and their brute strength.

There was quite a crowd as it was a weekend. We were a bit worried about not being able to see the orangutans since according to the briefing guy, they came and fed well yesterday. You have to remember these orangutans were being rehabilitated so they can adapt to living in the wild again. For the centre, an orangutan that stops coming to the feeding area to feed equals a successful rehabilitation.

Anyway we waited impatiently. These two guys on a faraway feeding platform kept calling the orangutans names but nothing seemed to happen. I secretly gave up on seeing any orangutans until someone noticed movements and sounds in the distant trees.

One by one, the various orangutans appeared like Tarzan swinging through trees, climbing the ropes, bending on bamboos. It was quite exciting and unnerving since these creatures' behaviour can be rather unpredictable. The first orangutan to reach the platfrom was this mother and her baby. I suppose that's because mothering is such a hungry job. Cute pair, aren't they?

From a distance, I could spot this huge guy observing us. (I had to switch to my 70-300mm lens since there was no way I was gonna get any decent pictures using a 50mm portrait lens, duh)

One by one, and sometimes in pairs, they came, each exhibiting their individual unique characteristics and trademark behavior. I have to admit, this was better than seeing them in the zoo.

Later, I realized the big brute observing us was the centre's superstar, Ritchie. He was a really huge guy and the dominant male in the centre. Another male had to be shipped off to another reserve since he and Ritchie were at odds with one another.

Ritchie hearts you!

Most of my pics turned out pretty blur. Dang, gonna steal TZ's VR lens one of these days, ha ha ha. But anyway, I was quite please to have captured the shot of this greedy guy swinging off.

Well, that's all for tonight. Goodnight!


Las montañas said...

All the national park signage looks similar except for the words!

Wow you can differentiate HK and Guangdong's cantonese! Can you tell the difference between Sumatran and Kalimantan Orang Utans? ;)

TZ said...

hehehe.... hey where is the picture of the Female Orang Utan pulling my leg ... :p

[SK] said...

hehehe, yeap, you were messing around Kuching with that few MONKEYS, not the orang utans in the photos, hahaha :D

NomadicMom said...

Eh. Lu punya photos really good lah... Especially the words on the sign, and that baby monkey's face!!!!

Jonzz said...

LM: Sorry I don't speak orangutan, ha ha.

TZ: Now, now, some secrets are best kept hidden.

SK: LOL, urrr.... whatever do you mean.

NomadicMom: Thanks. Actually there were lots of blur shots out of the many I took. These were the better ones. And I sharpen and shrink them before uploading.