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 Post subject: Borneo Dispatches #25: Bornean Miscellany, Part 5 - Primates
PostPosted: February 8th, 2012, 5:27 am 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
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Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
There are quite a number of primates on Borneo. While I'm partial to the weird ones such as tree shrews, slow loris, tarsiers, and of course the big hairless ones that live in stone dwellings and travel to their feeding grounds in metal contraptions, there's also a bunch of classic ones.

Here are a few Bornean orang-utans (Pongo pygmaeus) in various stages of semi-wildness, photographed in sanctuaries and rescue centers. The chap with the huge jowls (which serve to attact females, by the way - Brando, eat your heart out!) was rescued from some imbecile "owner" who had made him smoke cigarettes and drink hooch. He was also the first great ape in history to receive a full-scale eye operation after he had gnawed through a power line, blinding himself in the process. The fierce, toothy snarl is not a threat gesture - he was just catching raindrops (a fact I would have never realized, had not a staff member told me about it!)

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If you want to help these fellers beyond mere donations, check out the Orang Utan Project. For a fee, you can live and work with the orangs at various rehab centers all over Borneo (and Sumatra). Looks expensive, but whatever's leftover after your food and lodging has been paid for, is a generous donation. And I've yet to meet anyone who didn't love it.

Also indigenous to Borneo, but dwellers of mangrove swamps rather than rainforests, are Asia's largest monkeys, the Proboscis monkeys (Nasalis larvatus) aka orang belanda - "Dutchman" in Malay, onaccounta their Western noses. At Bako National Park, these guys are so used to people that they let you stand right next to them while they pick and munch on mangrove leaves (only the youngest and most tender ones will do!)

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Macaques, in this case Long-tailed Macaques (Macaca fascicularis), are cute and interesting to watch, but also the scourge of many a tourist spot in Asia. I used to snicker at the ubiquitous "CAUTION - THIEVISH MONKEYS!!" signs, until the day a teenaged macaque ninjaed a freshly opened box of chocolate cookies from our table on the terrace at the Bako NP restaurant. First, he cased the joint from about ten feet away, and then took three long leaps, rocketed onto the table - virtually right under the noses of three adult humans! - grabbed the box, and then flew off the other side onto the lawn seven feet below us. An absolutely fantastic stunt that took less than two seconds. I'll never underestimate the little ^%$#@!s again. Ever.

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All pictures by Marcus Kloft


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #25: Primates
PostPosted: February 8th, 2012, 7:17 am 
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That's incredible! I can't imagine seeing primates in the wild like that O_O Thanks so much for that post, those photos are top notch!


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #25: Primates
PostPosted: February 8th, 2012, 8:20 am 
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Hans, that was fantastic! That big old male orang is a stunningly handsome creature! Those close-ups were incredible!


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #25: Primates
PostPosted: February 8th, 2012, 2:34 pm 
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awesome!
josh


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #25: Primates
PostPosted: February 8th, 2012, 3:00 pm 
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Awesome stuff. In my time in East Kalimantan I desparately wanted to see Proboscis Monkeys but never did.

No Gibbons? They were always my favorite sights (and sounds) from Borneo.


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #25: Bornean Miscellany, Part 5 - Prim
PostPosted: February 8th, 2012, 4:58 pm 
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Hans, I think we should start a herper exchange program (and this isn't even a herp post!). You come to Ohio for a year and I'll take your place. Just think of all the snow you can see for 5 months or so!

Cool primates. I am not a fan of seeing them in zoos, but in the wild they are incredible. Mammal forum?

Andy


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #25: Bornean Miscellany, Part 5 - Prim
PostPosted: February 8th, 2012, 7:16 pm 
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Very cool Hans!!


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #25: Bornean Miscellany, Part 5 - Prim
PostPosted: February 8th, 2012, 10:27 pm 
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Fantastic. I loved the proboscis monkeys in particular.


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #25: Bornean Miscellany, Part 5 - Prim
PostPosted: February 8th, 2012, 11:02 pm 
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Joined: June 9th, 2010, 6:17 am
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Ubi mel ibi apes


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #25: Bornean Miscellany, Part 5 - Prim
PostPosted: February 9th, 2012, 2:40 am 
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Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
Thanks, all!

Yes, the pix are indeed quite nice, and the reason for this is that it wasn't me who took them. My former high school buddy Marcus visited me last October for two weeks, and since he's a much more accomplished photographer than I am, we made a deal: I'd be his driver, guide, and translator, and in return he'd be my photo serf. Whatever I wanted photographed, he photographed. An arrangement that worked out quite nicely :-)

There are gibbons in Sarawak, but AFAIK, mostly in the larger jungles in the north. I've never been further away from Kuching than sixty miles, if you can believe that, hence no wild gibbons for me. My son, who's traveled into the hinterland quite a bit, has heard, but not seen them (in the Kapit area)

Andy, I'd take you up on your offer, but only for the summer. I don't do winters anymore, not even subtropical ones. (My parents are currently suffering subzero temperatures in Germany - we're talking frozen water pipes...I shudder at the thought that I grew upin such a hellish place.) Let's talk about it after I've been to all the places I want to go first - Kakadu NP, a visit to Rom Whitaker in India, Komodo Island....all of them just a few airplane hours away. Another perk of living in Borneo - the proximity to all those cool places, and the ultra-low airfares to get you there (courtesy of Malaysia's own Air Asia).

Warren wrote:
Ubi mel ibi apes

Wow. That's pretty bad...or good, depending on your level of pun resistance :-)


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #25: Bornean Miscellany, Part 5 - Prim
PostPosted: February 9th, 2012, 2:58 am 

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 1:17 am
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I always loved each and every animal i saw, until i met Long-tailed Macaques


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #25: Bornean Miscellany, Part 5 - Prim
PostPosted: February 9th, 2012, 3:11 am 
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DavidG wrote:
I always loved each and every animal i saw, until i met Long-tailed Macaques

Hahaaa, yeah, that's about the size of it.


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #25: Bornean Miscellany, Part 5 - Prim
PostPosted: February 9th, 2012, 7:33 am 
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DavidG wrote:
I always loved each and every animal i saw, until i met Long-tailed Macaques


Wait until you meet a Rhesus Macaque.

Great post Hans. I really liked the Proboscis Monkeys. I can understand the no Gibbons, but I am a little surprised you don't have any Langur pics. Are they not in your area either. Oh, and you left of North Sulawesi in the places you're a short flight from.

Andy Avram wrote:
Mammal forum?


We can only dream.



Curtis


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #25: Bornean Miscellany, Part 5 - Prim
PostPosted: February 9th, 2012, 11:02 am 
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Great post Hans! Although not your photo, I love the one of the macaque climbing in the rain!

It really is amazing the number of primates in Borneo. While at Danau Girang Field Centre this last summer, I got to be a part of the first ever Slow Loris collaring (you may have read it in the paper - Danica Stark was the researcher to perform the collaring). I got to see a lot of primates in the wild and get some nice photos as well - unfortunately no dominant male orangs with the large cheek pouches or any photos of the slow loris (stress - so only one photographer, a researcher not me). I also got to experience some macaque mischief - one broke through the screen dining hall and stole powdered milk leaving a nice white trail everywhere! haha

I don't know if it's in another post, but you ever run into any tarsiers?


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #25: Bornean Miscellany, Part 5 - Prim
PostPosted: February 9th, 2012, 4:32 pm 
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CCarille wrote:
I don't know if it's in another post, but you ever run into any tarsiers?

Have I ever. What a night that was....

Langurs, yes. Totally forgot about those. They're here, yes. Shy fellers, though. The best place to see them is Permai Rainforest Resort:
Silver-leaf Langur, Trachypithecus cristatus, in bad light.
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Next up: trucks with a speed problem - if I ever get to see and photograph them. They live much higher up in the trees than tarsiers.


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #25: Bornean Miscellany, Part 5 - Prim
PostPosted: February 11th, 2012, 7:44 am 
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O my.. How big was that large male Orang-utan? He looks like he could dismember me in his sleep. The close up of his face looks EVIL.


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #25: Bornean Miscellany, Part 5 - Prim
PostPosted: February 12th, 2012, 2:02 am 
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MaartenSFS wrote:
O my.. How big was that large male Orang-utan? He looks like he could dismember me in his sleep.

Yep. That big :-)


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #25: Bornean Miscellany, Part 5 - Prim
PostPosted: February 12th, 2012, 6:37 am 
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How large in relation to a human, though?


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #25: Bornean Miscellany, Part 5 - Prim
PostPosted: February 12th, 2012, 11:06 am 
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Very interesting, Hans. It would be nice to see primates like those when in the field.

Are there Proboscis monkeys at Permai or is Bako essential?

Regards,
David


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #25: Bornean Miscellany, Part 5 - Prim
PostPosted: February 12th, 2012, 3:24 pm 
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Hans Breuer (twoton) wrote:
CCarille wrote:
I don't know if it's in another post, but you ever run into any tarsiers?

Have I ever. What a night that was....

Thanks for the link! Amazing seeing a tarsier - thanks for that post!


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #25: Bornean Miscellany, Part 5 - Prim
PostPosted: February 12th, 2012, 4:44 pm 
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MaartenSFS wrote:
How large in relation to a human, though?

I'd say about six feet, raised up.

David, Bako is essential for close-ups with Dutchmen. Permai doesn't have them. But Permai has at least one troop of habituated Silver-leaf Langurs. I met them last Saturday again, they're not very shy.


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #25: Bornean Miscellany, Part 5 - Prim
PostPosted: February 13th, 2012, 12:57 pm 

Joined: November 7th, 2011, 12:36 pm
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Love the pictures, thanks. Primates are definitely my biggest passion, right after reptiles.

I will never forgive myself for staying in my tent sleeping the afternoon my fellow travellers were out herping and saw the only wild orang-utan we (they!) sighted during the trip...
At least I saw a big group of Nasalis larvatus along the Kinabatangan river. And also some macaques yelling at a Varanus salvator that attempted to catch a baby, that was thrilling.


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #25: Bornean Miscellany, Part 5 - Prim
PostPosted: February 14th, 2012, 2:34 am 
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alessio wrote:
And also some macaques yelling at a Varanus salvator that attempted to catch a baby, that was thrilling.

Woah. Any pix?

Here are a few more langurs I met in Permai last Saturday. In fact, the entire troop crossed my path right in front of me - right by the entrance to the resort.

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The world as seen by Trachypithecus cristatus:
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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #25: Bornean Miscellany, Part 5 - Prim
PostPosted: February 14th, 2012, 7:55 am 

Joined: November 7th, 2011, 12:36 pm
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Hans Breuer (twoton) wrote:
alessio wrote:
And also some macaques yelling at a Varanus salvator that attempted to catch a baby, that was thrilling.

Woah. Any pix?


Sadly, no. I did have my camera with me, but not my tripod, and it was too dark to shoot without it.
The monitor tried to take the macaques by surprise coming out of a small river. After the first try it came back twice, always swimming in the water, but the monkeys were alarmed and started screaming as soon as it was sighted in the distance. It eventually had to give up and go away on an empty stomach.


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #25: Bornean Miscellany, Part 5 - Prim
PostPosted: February 14th, 2012, 3:30 pm 
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Amazing!!! What a treat...


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