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Summer 2007 - Malaysia XIII

A morning with the man of the forest

-17 °C
View Summer Vacation 2007 on agc_cwm's travel map.

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We woke up a little later than we had intended and went for a very meager breakfast at the cafe. We finished eating and went up the road to the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre. It was only about five minutes away. At the centre they rehabilitate orphaned orang utans. Sometimes, if a baby orang utan is found, people will try to keep it as a pet. This is a very ill conceived plan, and it is also illegal. The young orang utans are taken to the center and taught the skills they need to survive in the jungle. Over the course of about ten years, they gradually reintroduce the juveniles into the wild, and encourage them to go into the jungle on their own, with less reliance on humans for survival. Please click here to learn more about they important work they do.

So we arrived, paid our entrance and camera fees, and headed in to the first feeding platform. It was about 300m on the boardwalk. This platform is the only one open to the public, and is the first step that the juvenile orang utans take toward independence. There are three other platforms, incrementally deeper into the jungle. We arrived there at 9:15 and there weren't many people, but there were two orang utans. One was swinging around on the rope a bit, and the other was just sitting in the shade on the feeding platform itself. We set up shop at a good viewing position on the railing, but there was a bit of orang utan poop on the railing, so we moved a few steps away from it, still in a good position. And then we waited for the 10:00 feeding. It was hot, and the crowds started to arrive, and some shade would have been good, but I was not relinquishing my spot to anyone. About ten minutes before the feeding was to begin, more orang utans started to arrive. All told, there were ten that came to the platform that morning (8 juveniles, and one adult female with her baby). We watched them grab a breakfast of bananas, sugarcane, and milk. One of them just grabbed a bunch of bananas and swing out on the rope to avoid having to fight for food. The food was pretty well gone after ten minutes. The mom and baby were the first ones out of there.

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We decided to leave before the whole crowd moved at once, checking out the gift shop and drinking some water. There was an information centre across from the entrance, so we checked that out; it was really informative. They played a movie at 11:00 about the rehabilitation process, which was also very informative. After the video, we went over to the restaurant to grab some ice cream and water and sit for a bit out of th sun. It was getting really, really hot, so we decided to go back to our room and get some air conditioning. We went to lunch and did exactly that. We Scrabbled, and Andrew fell asleep while I sudoked for a while on our balcony. The remainder of the day consisted of relaxing, birdwatching and eating dinner.

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I witnessed the rare touristicus bird, and managed to get a picture. The touristicus is found all over the world in many different shapes and sizes. They are usually seen sporting a fanny pack and a camera, with long white socks protruding from their sensible shoes. Their plumage? A t-shirt from their last migration.

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While at dinner, we had a chat with a couple of Australian ladies who were wondering where they should go next. We enthusiastically recommended Tabin and said that everyone there was great. They sounded very interested, and we felt good about passing along the good word. After dinner we went back to our room and packed our bags, watched some CNN, and went to bed.

Posted by agc_cwm 05:55 Archived in Malaysia

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