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In the footsteps of Dr Birute Galdikas - An orangutan escapade


Kitsafari

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TonyQ

I am really enjoying this. Great pictures of your trips along the river. I loved seeing the proboscis monkeys - especially with the youngsters. The narrow waterways are beautiful - and I agree that the gharial is very cute!

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Proboscis monkeys or nasalis larvatus were already roosting in the trees ready for the night. The primates are endemic to Borneo and although I couldn’t find any info on their numbers (http://pin.prim

so i'll keep this report short. it's only 5 days after all! so it'll be more of a pictorial kind of report (of course knowing my rambling way, I don't know if it will keep to what I said!) and then t

What both special tours offer is time spent with Dr Birute Mary Galdikas.   Dr Birute (I’m lazy so I’ll call her DrB with the utmost respect for her), or Dr G as some affectionately calls her, is no

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elefromoz

 

After an hour, the murky brown river split into two – the left called Sekonyer Kiri with the same milk-tea brown colour and the right Sekonyer Kanan with a pitch black colour. Going down Sekonyer Kiri you will arrive at the zircon and diamond mines, where over the years the dust and the mercury to wash the stones have drained into the river, contributing to the brown colour. No one is advised to swim in these waters.

 

 

 

 

Oh dear, mercury, not good at all. In contrast, the black water looks beautiful toward Camp Leakey with its reflections.

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Safari Cal

It looks like this is going to be one of those groundbreaking TRs @@Kitsafari.

 

Loving it so far and your photos, especially of the gharial. The difference in the water quality is astounding, with the brown waters being more akin to the colour of the Kinabatangan River in Sabah, the still black waters are great for photography though.

 

Looking forward to reading the next instalment.

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Tom Kellie

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~ @@Kitsafari

 

That's really a COOL photograph!

Throughout my life I've especially enjoying seeing the confluence of different rivers, especially where their respective character is strikingly different.

Thanks for posting that.

Tom K.

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Kitsafari

@@Safari Cal thanks for reading. it was actually your TRs that inspired us to go on trips to Borneo and realised what we had missed all these years!! so thank you very much for setting us on this journeys of discovery. :D

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Kitsafari

@@Tom Kellie thanks Tom for the compliment. wasn't it just amazing? especially when there is such a stark contrast between the two colours!

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Kitsafari

Camp Leakey is the main tourist attraction in Tanjung Puting National Park. It is open to the public and is the main feeding station. There are 2-3 other feeding stations along the river that are also opened to the public. There is no charge although I do wonder if the authorities should charge a nominal fee as it would contribute some revenues and put a value on the park.

 

Feeding is open to the public from 2pm to 4pm. This was where DrB was stationed to undertake her research on OU. It’s not the original site of the first camp when she arrived 44 years ago. The current camp was built and expanded as DrB’s research and activities grew. There is a small information centre which gives information on the diet and behaviour of the great apes as well as an interesting lineage history of the leading orang-utans released into the park.

 

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the food storeroom

 

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the dining room....

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...attached with its own orangutan Siswe hoping to dine with us

 

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Kitsafari

there is a public docking deck but as a group hosted by DrB, we were treated as VIPs so we landed at the private deck, specially built for none other than Bill Clinton and his entourage when he visited last year

 

the public dock, where you can sometimes see Siswe waiting for the arrivals of visitors or DrB

 

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the VIP deck

 

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a domesticated cat rolling on the deck. there were a few cats at camp leakey, and seemed to get along with the orangutans who roam around camp freely, as do bearded pigs

 

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Tom Kellie

a domesticated cat rolling on the deck. there were a few cats at camp leakey, and seemed to get along with the orangutans who roam around camp freely, as do bearded pigs

 

~ @@Kitsafari

 

Bearded pigs” ???

Tom K.

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jeremie

Did you see any orang utan outside the feeding stations?

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Kitsafari

 

a domesticated cat rolling on the deck. there were a few cats at camp leakey, and seemed to get along with the orangutans who roam around camp freely, as do bearded pigs

 

~ @@Kitsafari

 

Bearded pigs” ???

Tom K.

 

 

 

LOL, yes @@Tom Kellie. you read it right! coming up on the second day.

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Kitsafari

@@jeremie we didn't see any along the river but that won't be surprising as the orangutans like to stay in the forest, and not by the river. Although, a lady who's on her second trip here, saw one along the river during her first trip.

 

I saw one in the tree as we boarded the boat to leave camp Leakey and we saw a family while walking to the feeding station but I don't know if they were rehabilitated or wild ones. The rehabilitated ones are now semi-wild as they will still keep away from humans, though habituated. their offsprings will all be wild.

 

i saw this one sitting pretty in the tree watching us as we leave:

 

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these below followed us to the feeding station

 

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if you look closely you'll see her baby tucked close to her.

 

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hazarding a guess that this is her older child, still hanging around the mother

 

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Edited by Kitsafari
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Kitsafari

The camp is a 45-minute or so trek to the feeding station, and we got to go there an hour before it was opened to the public.

Bananas were placed on the platform with two big tubs of milk infused with supplements. Then the wardens would call for the apes. it took a while as the orangutans would hang around assessing the situation before coming down. unless they were familiar with each other, the families would come separately.

 

And the orang-utans came, taking turns to partake of the food.

 

 

Feeding day 1:

 

Mother Peta (rescued captive), baby and juvenile

 

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Kitsafari

Noisy, a wild orangutan who watched for years before deciding to descend to feed. She would stuff as much as she could in her mouth and grab as many as her hands could take.

 

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not sure if this link works -

 

https://youtu.be/p_ySGWn3Tz8

Edited by Kitsafari
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Kitsafari

we were honoured with the appearance of a full cheek padded male - Tom was born to one of the released captive orangutan and he became the alpha male in the camp territory after he ousted Kusasi (which has not been seen for a very long time.) he's an impressive brute, broad-shouldered and handsome and imposing. when he came down to the platform, all others fled and when he was at the feeding station, no other orangutans could approach.

 

An introduction to Tom

 

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https://youtu.be/mx-drjYED08

Edited by Kitsafari
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Kitsafari

There were two things on Tom's mind - Food and Sex

 

when he arrived, he was watching Peta. Peta disappeared into the bushes and Tom gave chase. Despite the baby clinging onto her and a juvenile scrambling around the mother, Tom pursued. one of the rangers followed them into the bushes and saw the Tom having his way with her. The one blessed thing about orangutans is that there is no infanticide.

as Tom gave chase, he gave a long call - a very rare call that is seldom heard. I heard twice - Tom's call and another at the care centre that broke my heart.

 

Ignore the shakes! and just listen (use a headphone, it's clearer as the cicadas are deafening!)

 

https://youtu.be/D1XZocMAXTA

 

 

Tom later pursued another female also with a baby and a juvenile, terrifying the poor juvenile. its so amazing that those thin branches don't break under his weight! the female was saved when Tom, seeing Noisy helping herself to food, decided that food was more important.

 

https://youtu.be/gs149fZ9CJ0

 

his bulky body was not barrier to his graceful and fluid journey through the treetops.

 

https://youtu.be/XKCWbNgx9Oc

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Kitsafari

Akmad and baby. Akmad was one of the original orangutan babies rescued by DrB within a few months of DrB's arrival. "of all the orangutans who later joined our household, she was the most ladylike," from Reflections of Eden. Akmad graced the first chapter of the book. and from watching her, she epitomises the intensive tender loving care of the young. Babies cling to the mother until they are around 3-4 when they begin exploring on their own but never far from the mother. they stay with the mother until they are 7-8 years old. the long weaning period is so that the mother can teach the child survival tactics - what to eat, what to avoid, where to go for the best fruits, where to go for food during famine time. Female orangutans in Tanjung Puting park give birth in an average 7.7 year period.

 

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after Tom chased Akmad off the platform

 

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looking longingly at the food

 

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elefromoz

Beautiful Mum and baby shots, and nope, I wouldn't mess with Tom either

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Kitsafari

Tea with DrB day 1:

 

Siswi leading the tea and coffee. Siswi is the mascot for the camp. she was born to two released captive orangutans. when she was much older, she suffered a very serious illness that almost killed her. A vet was flown from Singapore to operate on her. she survived but cannot bear babies anymore. SHe's featured in the IMAX movie Born to be Wild. here's a short piece on her:

https://orangutan.org/orangutan-of-the-month-siswi/

 

 

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I love this picture - 3 types of species in one shot - human, orangutan, pigs

 

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Edited by Kitsafari
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Tom Kellie

There were two things on Tom's mind - Food and Sex

 

when he arrived, he was watching Peta. Peta disappeared into the bushes and Tom gave chase. Despite the baby clinging onto her and a juvenile scrambling around the mother, Tom pursued. one of the rangers followed them into the bushes and saw the Tom having his way with her. The one blessed thing about orangutans is that there is no infanticide.

as Tom gave chase, he gave a long call - a very rare call that is seldom heard. I heard twice - Tom's call and another at the care centre that broke my heart.

 

 

~ @@Kitsafari

 

Harumph!

No Comment!

Tom K. :)

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TonyQ

@@Kitsafari

What an extraordinary animal that male Orang Utan is. (I was about to put "Tom" in that sentence but I didn't wish to cause any confusion :) )

The series of mother and baby pictures are very tender and very beautiful.

 

It is amazing they don't charge tourists to visit the feeding as surely it would contribute to the funds needed to tun it.

Your video links work fine and are very enjoyable.

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Kitsafari

 

There were two things on Tom's mind - Food and Sex

 

when he arrived, he was watching Peta. Peta disappeared into the bushes and Tom gave chase. Despite the baby clinging onto her and a juvenile scrambling around the mother, Tom pursued. one of the rangers followed them into the bushes and saw the Tom having his way with her. The one blessed thing about orangutans is that there is no infanticide.

as Tom gave chase, he gave a long call - a very rare call that is seldom heard. I heard twice - Tom's call and another at the care centre that broke my heart.

 

~ @@Kitsafari

 

Harumph!

No Comment!

Tom K. :)

@@Tom Kellie. Hahaaaahaaa! He did choose a very private place and we weren't privy to it.

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Kitsafari

@@Kitsafari

What an extraordinary animal that male Orang Utan is. (I was about to put "Tom" in that sentence but I didn't wish to cause any confusion :) )

The series of mother and baby pictures are very tender and very beautiful.

 

It is amazing they don't charge tourists to visit the feeding as surely it would contribute to the funds needed to tun it.

Your video links work fine and are very enjoyable.

@@TonyQ @@Thursday's Child thanks for keeping along with the TR!

 

I can't recall if there was already a charge for entering the park. I'll have to check.

Edited by Kitsafari
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Tom Kellie

@@Tom Kellie. Hahaaaahaaa! He did choose a very private place and we weren't privy to it.

 

~ @@Kitsafari

 

We ‘Toms’ have our standards.

Tom K. :)

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jeremie

@Kitsafari

 

While reading your answer to my question, I felt quite afraid as I do not want to see orang utan on feeding station such as at Sepilok, I always prefer seeing wild animals.

Well, your last pictures show you can take good shots of orang utan in their habitar, before or just after they feed on the platforms.

However, I would love hiking in the forest to look after them. Is this posible with tailor-made trip?

 

Thanks!

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