Sunday, April 26, 2009

Crocodiles and Orangutans!

Just as I stepped outside the hotel Faisal pulls up in the Humana pickup, and a couple of other girls show up at the same time – turned out they were teachers going along to watch the kids – this was going to be the very first Human field trip – the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center had kindly waived the entrance fees for the kids, so everyone was very excited!
I was dropped off at Torben's house, as I was going to drive with him and Rosalyn with their 4 boys!
We led the caravan, 2 school buses were following, and I enjoyed the scenery, which was mainly palm oil plantations and Torben explained about the area, pointed out when we drove by plantations that were sponsoring schools, etc.
As we got close to Sandakan we turned off to go to a crocodile farm first, as feeding time for the orangutans wasn't until 3 PM, and the kids would no doubt get a huge kick out of seeing the crocodiles and the little show they put on there.
It was fun to see how excited and still very well behaved "our" kids were – they looked so bright and cheerful in their bright yellow Humana T-shirts! I had gotten one also that morning saying "Teacher" on the back, and I am looking forward to wearing it!
After the crocodile show we walked around a bit to see the exhibits – among others the crocodile who was caught in Lahad Datu after having devoured 4 villagers many years ago! He was a big, scary fellow!
Soon everyone was rounded up again, and it was time to get some lunch and go to the Orangutan Center.
We walked out the boardwalk a short distance to get to the viewing area from where you could see the platform where they feed the Orangutans, and there were already one adult female there, waiting, and I could faintly see another high up in a tree some distance away!
Soon several orangutans were swinging into sight and approched the platform as the 2 men with the food arrived. It was fantastic seeing the mom's with their babies holding on tightly as they swung along the ropes and branches.
The Macaques were trying to sneak in on the action, and as you can see from a couple of my photos this Orangutan Mom did not appreciate it! There were both pig-tailed Macaques and long-tailed Macaques, and one the way out a French guy had spotted 4 big black birds in a tree, Torben identified them - Black Hornbills!
What a great afternoon, and the day was not over yet!

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