Proboscis Monkeys and Rainforests
Looking back on today while writing this, I feel that it could have been one of the coolest days on the trip. We woke up, I had a few semi-nightmares at work but after sorting this, stuffing my fat face with fried banana and papaya, we got ourselves ready for The Rainforest discovery centre.
It is one of the natural rainforest in Sabah, sitting by a lake at the edge of the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve in Sandakan and used primarily for environmental education purposes. Today, it is a 3-in-1 park (i.e. wildlife, bird and plant) for nature lovers but we were keen to get some steps in and go for an explore in the hopes of seeing something cool.
The walk itself was great, very hot and humid but we overall enjoyed being in nature and being away from other people. It was worth the 15Ringit ($5NZD) entrance fee and if you have time to kill then it is a good way to pass a few hours.
Next on the list, and top of my Borneo adventure so far is the Proboscis Monkey sanctuary which was our afternoon activity. There are 2 platforms where you can walk into the Mangrove forest and we ended up going to both as it was so quiet there. If you are feeling peckish there is also a reasonably priced restaurant where we had lunch and loved.
The Sanctuary itself is located at the centre of the mangrove forest along the coastal land near Samawang Village at Labuk Bay about 30 mins from where we are staying. However, Borneo is the only place in the world where proboscis monkeys occur and here is where you can actually see them pretty close.
Let me tell you about the monkeys as they are so special and unique! The proboscis monkey gets its name from its large, fleshy nose. Both males and females have the large noses. Female noses are not as large, and the babies have small upturned noses. The males are so large that they hang down over their mouths, and sometimes they have to push it out of the way before putting something in their mouth. Honestly, these guys are comical looking which made the experience so much better.
I also want to backtrack slightly as I read about how this sanctuary was founded and I loved the story, so I have added it for you to read below:
‘’Some years ago (1994), while embarking on Oil Palm Plantation development near the mangrove swamps of the present sanctuary, the owner of the site came to know of the proboscis monkeys living there. Fascinated, he learned more about the monkeys and their predicament. Few people in their quest for commercial gain would have paid much attention to the plight of these monkeys in their struggle for survival. However, for this owner, although the 400 plus acres of mangrove forest were initially bought for commercial development, the plan was quickly dropped so that these monkeys could continue to survive there without fear of losing their natural habitat. As the sources of the food for these monkeys had much dwindled, efforts were made to supplement the monkeys’ diet with fruits and water daily to ensure the conservation of these animals’’
Anyway overall, we managed to see heaps of these monkeys and even witnessed 2 alpha males having a strength contest by running through the platform we were standing trying to make as much noise as possible to show their strength. This was exhilarating, mostly because we had no idea what was going on and when a 40kg male monkey is thundering itself towards you at a rapid speed our choice was to stand still and hope it went around us or pretty much get pounded to death.
The sanctuary costs 60Rigit to enter and with a 10 Ringgit camera fee but we just loved it so much that I would 100% recommend this sanctuary as being one of the top 3 on our Borneo to do list! We leave Borneo tomorrow evening and I can say hand on heart it has been truly amazing. It has been everything I dreamed of and I am so happy we spent time here exploring and immersing ourselves into wildlife. I would come back in a heart beat!
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Hey! I'm Ally. I left the UK in 2011 to move overseas and ended up in New Zealand - my new home. This year we are taking a gap year to loop the world stopping in some AMAZING destinations - and I'm passionate about sharing these adventures with you!