Both of these monkeys are some of the rarest in the world and the funniest. It was feeding time when we arrived, they have two sessions a day and the monkeys are called in to come and get some fresh vegetables. The call they use is not dissimilar to a farmer calling his cows in to milk. The proboscis come in from the trees and then walk from the edges of the forest. They are strange creatures.
The Francois Langur, also known as the Francois’ leaf monkeys don’t seem to leave the comfortable shade of the centre. They are very gentle and are parked under the chairs throughout the reception area. We had the enormous privilege of seeing a few little babies. They are so sweet. When they are born, the babies are bright orange. The research suggests that it so the adults can identify them and look after them. I personally can’t see why such a gentle creature would need help looking for their young, they seemed very maternal to me. I certainly wouldn’t need to look for those cute little things, they wouldn’t be leaving my side.
Proboscis monkeys are seriously funny looking. They have long skinny arms and legs and huge stomachs and noses. The Indonesians have a nickname for them “Dutch monkey” as they thought the early Dutch explorers often had large noses and big stomachs just like them! Some more interesting things about Proboscis monkeys. They pout when they are trying to attract the opposite sex. How amazing is that? Seriously, pouting? Many of their toes are webbed. They can swim. Seriously! They generally swim on their backs but have been seen crossing rivers like this in the Bornean jungle. We saw them at both a rehabilitation centre and in the wild. How amazing to go into the jungle and see animals in the wild. They were relatively easy to find. Most animals find water in the morning and evening. I really hope my son thinks back to how lucky he was to of seen these and many other creatures in their wild habitat.
Proboscis monkeys are identified as endangered and with the rate of deforestation both from forest fires and palm oil plantations cutting the forests down in countries where animal protection comes a long way behind their country making large amounts of money. Still, there are organisations educating and teaching the people how to care for these animals and their importance to their ecosystems. As funny looking as these guys I, I certainly wouldn’t want them to no longer be on the planet. It fills my heart with deep sadness for these wonderful creatures. As we cruised down the river with our guide (Kinabatangan river area), you would have deep forest on both sides of the riverbank and then suddenly come round a bend in the river to be confronted with the total lack of cover and vegetation. In its place are acres of cleared land waiting for the palms to be planted and then mature for harvest.
Labuk Bay Sanctuary is situated in mangrove forest on the coast nearby to the neighbouring Philippines. Be prepared for the presence of soldier’s with AK47’s. There have been previously only the cost line near to the Philippines many kidnappings of tourists. Their presence I am sure is precautionary but preparation will only avoid shock. Male and female proboscis will move out of their ‘birth’ home into one of two social levels. The first is the bachelor group of makes from juvenile through to adult male. There is very little aggression in the groups. The young leave their mothers as young as 18 months. (you can see a youngest hanging with the males in these photos) This makes a far contract to orang-utan that stay with their mother until they are almost 10! The other social group will be led by a male who will often have a harem. These groups will often coexist in what they call a troop. Females may swap around from one harem to another when they are young but they tend to remain in one for most of their lives. My photos show how the bachelor group take over caring for these little guys. They are delightfully maternal. There are a lot of western cultures that could learn a thing or two about raising children from them! (ha ha)
If you get the chance to get to Borneo I strongly advise that you don’t overlook seeing the Proboscis. For me they were a really lovely surprise. Mainly because I was so excited about seeing the Orang-utan that I hadn’t taken my blinkers off to consider what other amazing animals lived in Borneo. The Proboscis are certainly not only entertaining and interesting but lovely creatures that deserve for more people to understand them and want to fight for them.
Would I go back? Absolutely. Hopefully next time I visit it is not about 40 degrees with a high humidity rating. I might be able to concentrate on something other than my discomfort if that were possible.