Malaysia / Borneo: Kuching – Orangutans

Posted on | February 2, 2014 | 10 Comments

Orangutan with baby

Warning warning: not a food post. There’s only orangutans within. Really, really cute orangutans though. :)

We had to see orangutans when we went to Borneo, since they’re native to Borneo and Sumatra.

There’s actually two species: the Bornean orangutan and the Sumatran orangutan. We saw the Bornean orangutan on two occasions – once at a wildlife centre called Matang Ai (which, I wouldn’t recommend, it’s a bit of a sad place – cages and concrete enclosures) and the second time at Semenggoh Nature Reserve.


Orangutan

The Bornean orangutan is the third heaviest living primate (after the two species of gorilla) and is the largest truly tree-dwelling animal. Wild male orangutans typically weigh 75kg, but can weigh up to 100kg, with females averaging 38.5kg and up to 50kg.

They have very long arms that are twice the length of their legs, with coarse and shaggy red coats – you can see how long the arms are in this pic.

Orangutan

We arrived at Semenggoh just before feeding time. The aim there is to rehabilitate the orangutans, but there are also scheduled feeding times for those who can’t quite live independently. So at Semenggoh they’re free, but they’re not completely wild.

Everyone had to gather for a quick safety briefing before being allowed into the forest.

Safety briefing summarised: don’t wander off the trail, don’t make eye contact with the big male (Ritchie), don’t run, don’t make loud noises (particularly from children), listen to the rangers at all times, don’t stay below them if they move directly overhead, don’t freak out Ritchie, don’t point long sticks at them because they think they are weapons, don’t eat or drink near them, don’t freak out Ritchie. Really really: don’t freak out Ritchie.

Ritchie

And this is Ritchie, the alpha male. He was easily identifiable because he’s massive (apparently about 150kg) with the large cheek pads that flanged male orangutans develop. Not all males are flanged – and for an unflanged male to become flanged depends a lot on whether there is already a resident male present.

Ritchie never came particularly close, choosing instead to stay high in the trees to keep watch over everyone.

Orangutan

Quite a few of the other orangutans came down to the feeding platform for some fruit. They don’t always show up at feeding time – it depends on how they’re feeling.

Orangutan

Look at this one’s chubby tummy. :) He has a piece of coconut in his mouth.

Orangutan with baby

There were also several babies clinging to their mums. So cute.

Ritchie

The rangers took things very seriously (which is a good thing) – at one point as everyone was leaving, Ritchie started coming closer to the trees near the trail, and the rangers stopped everyone to make sure he wasn’t going to be swinging overhead.

Orangutan

They’re really incredible creatures – it was so good to see them. There are amazing things in this world.

Comments

10 Responses to “Malaysia / Borneo: Kuching – Orangutans”

  1. Daisy@Nevertoosweet
    February 3rd, 2014 @ 12:15 pm

    OK I thought they were all so cute the orangutans until you started with all the safety precautions lol don’t do eat, drink, smile, breathe around Ritchie hahaa that’s going to be so hard for me… I can’t even keep quiet for a min :P
    Daisy@Nevertoosweet recently posted..Birthday Celebrations – Ganache High Tea

    [Reply]

    Agnes Reply:

    Haha well they *are* cute, but also very dangerous :p

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  2. Em
    February 3rd, 2014 @ 12:34 pm

    So so jealous. I love orangutans and would love to go to Borneo and work with them.
    Em recently posted..Lil Boy Blue – Melbourne

    [Reply]

    Agnes Reply:

    They are *such* amazing animals.

    [Reply]

  3. leaf (the indolent cook)
    February 3rd, 2014 @ 10:50 pm

    Awesome! I want to see orangutans one day, this Semenggoh place sounds like a good spot.
    leaf (the indolent cook) recently posted..happy chinese new year, and dessert flashbacks…

    [Reply]

    Agnes Reply:

    Seeing the orangutans was a definite highlight of the trip :D

    [Reply]

  4. Kat (Spatula, Spoon and Saturday)
    February 5th, 2014 @ 9:48 pm

    ermahgerd the baby!!! so cute!!!
    Kat (Spatula, Spoon and Saturday) recently posted..Japanese Potato Salad {Speedy Recipe}

    [Reply]

    Agnes Reply:

    I KNOW RIGHT!

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  5. Annette
    February 13th, 2014 @ 11:50 am

    Great photos! I would really love to see these animals.

    [Reply]

    Agnes Reply:

    Thanks :) x

    [Reply]

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