Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Bornean Orangutan: Photo Essay

A big male!
This was the main reason for my trip to Borneo! The great apes are something really very special & it is difficult to convey to people who haven't seen them in the wild, how amazing it really is! I wanted to see Orangutan in the wild, not in a rehabilitation center! It took me sometime! Eventually seeing two different males on different days in the Danum Valley. 

There are three subspecies of the Bornean Orangutan: 
  • Pongo pygmaeus pygmaeus in Sarawak & Kalimantan 
  •  the one I saw, Pongo pygmaeus morio found in Sabah & far eastern Kalimantan. 
  • Pongo pygmaeus wurumbii found in south-west & central Kalimantan.
There is also the Sumatran Orangutan, (Pongo abeli) which is monotypic.

 An adult male.

 He was just hanging there in the rain!
Sometimes he would cover his eyes 
to shield his face from the rain!

My first sighting was on the main access road, a few kilometers from the lodge. It was raining on & off & visibility in the swirling mist & rain wasn't great. But the sighting was! He was hanging upside down around 120 feet off the ground without a care in the world! He had made a little shelter above his head to protect him from the rain & he just hung there, looking at us, knowing we were there, but without a care in the world!

A second male, quite near the lodge.

He was just quietly feeding on fruit.

Once again he was watching us, 
but showed no concern.

Orangutans are classified as endangered, the main factors in their decline, are habitat loss, (mainly due to the expansion of oil palm estates) & capture for the so-called, pet trade. A lesser factor, is the bush-meat trade. One of the greatest worries, is that most of the population is found outside protected areas & this species is in rapid decline throughout its range. 

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