Sandakan and Sepilok

Arriving at Sandakan was the first time I’ve ever been given a (needed) umbrella to walk from plane to terminal. Tony Fernandes and Air Asia may be missing a trick, though. Michael O’Leary and his evil, money-grabbing leprechaun henchmen would charge you 20 Euros for that…

We had roti for breakfast at a roadside restaurant by the statue of a hitch-hiking crocodile, and spent an interesting hour at the memorial on the site of the Sandakan POW camp. But the highlight of the day was undoubtedly the Sepilok orang utang rehabilitation centre.

I would have liked to have got even closer, but the aim of the program is to teach the orangs independence and survival skills, so that wasn’t going to happen. Still, enough of my personal monkey worries. Here’s some orangs being fed:


These were showing their backs to us for ages and, since they’d put on entertainment for us, I thought I’d give something back (quid pro quo, an’ all that…). So I did little tap dance on the visitor platform. And one of the orangs turned round to watch! Most people, including guides, thought this was funny (and it didn’t disturb the other eating orangs), but I was told off by the German Tourist Fun Police. Gits!

Enough of me being daft, though… this mother and baby had a great sideline in monkey yoga instruction:


This lady was just hanging out:


And there were other primates in this part of the forest. Here’s a “macaque-robat” (*groans*)


The conservation programme video had some unspeakably cute footage, including a dozen baby rescue orangs being wheeled round in a wheelbarrow (I think we have a new collective noun). Great work, needs more support, and I’ll add a link later in case anyone wants to adopt an orang-utang.

I would like to stay longer, but in the morning we’re off to cruise on the Kinabatangan river and stay in the jungle proper. Hopefully more orangs in the wild, also probiscis monkeys…


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