Category Archives: Àsia

Endangered Species: the Bornean Orangutan (Pongo Pygmaeus)

The Bornean Orangutan is originary from this island. It lives in tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests in the Bornean lowlands, as well as mountainous areas up to 1.500 metres above sea level.

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The Bornean Orangutan is the third-heaviest living primate after the two species of gorilla, and the largest truly arboreal animal alive today. In wild, males weigh an average of 75 kg (ranging from 50 to 100 Kg.), and 1,2 to 1,4 meters long. Females average 38,5 Kg., ranging from 30 to 50 Kg,. And 1-1,2 meters long. While in captivity they use to grow considerably overweight.

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The Bornean Orangutan has a distinctive body, with so long arms, which can be up to 1,5 meters. Its fur is reddish and both its hands and feet are prehensiles.

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Their diet is composed of over 400 types of food, including figs, seeds, bird eggs, flowers, honey and insects, among others. They get the necessary quantities of water from both fruit and from tree holes.

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Females, which reach maturity between 6 to 11 years do not give birth for the first time till they are 14-15 years old. The youngs stay some years with the mother who teach them all they need to survive, then they go their own.

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Bornean Orangutans are in danger according to the IUCN red list and are included within the appendix 1 from CITES. It is estimated that only 54.500 live in the wild.

Critically Endangered

Their main threats are the fires (habitat destruction), hunting and illegal traffic of youngs as pets at the black market.

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New Gallery: Borneo

The Borneo Gallery is available from now on. Photos of some endangered species such as the Orangutans, the Borneo Pigmy Elephants and the Proboscis Monkeys can be found there.

We travelled to the Sabah region of Borneo, which belongs to the Malasian part of the isle.

Our itinerary included the following places:

  • Mount Kinabalu NP. Our visit to this area was limited to the parc services area, per the temporary closure of nearly all the paths due to an earthquake and some landslides caused by some hard rains that happened later. Some of the paths have been opened at the beginning of December 2015, but the Mesilau area, where the pitcher plants we wanted to see were is still closed and there is no tentative date for its re-opening.

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  • Pooring Hot Springs, where we saw the Rafflesia, the biggest and rarest flower of the world, about which I already gave you more details at my previous post.

  • Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center, founded in 1964. They rehabilitate and reintroduce orphan orangutans into the nature.
  • Kinabatangan river and its inflowings, where we were able to closely see from a small boat a group of Bornean Pigmy Elephants that were taking a bath at the river. This is also one of the few remaining places where the Proboscis Monkey (Nasalis larvatus) lives. Endemic from Broneo, it is extremly endangered as it exclusively depends on this fragile habitat which is threatened by the Palm Oil Industry.

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  • Danum Valley Conservation Area, 438 square kilometers of primary forest, mainly untouched… a paradise where we were able to see some wild Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) and Red Leaf Monkeys (Presbytis rubicunda), among others.

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  • Tabin, secondary forest (it is not what it used to be), but we were able to see Müller’s Bornean Gibbon or Grey Gibbon (Hylobates muelleri), two different types of otters: the Hairy-nosed Otter (Lutra sumatrana) and the Smooth-coated Otter (Lutra perspicillata) among other interesting animals.

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  • Sepilok Rainforest Discovery Center (RDC), very close to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center, it’s an Environmental Education Center. There is a Canopy walkway and some observation towers within the Kapili-Sepilok Forest Reserve. The Plant Discovery Garden and displays a big number of Bornean plants. We were able to see some orangutans and Hornbills here.

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The photographs included in the gallery would like to represent the different species that we found thru our itinerary.

I wish you like them.

See you soon!

Esther

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Borneo… soon!!!

Dear all,

As some of you already know, last summer I travelled to Borneo, to the Sabah region at the North of the isle.

It is taking me some time to prepare the phogo gallery, again… but it will be ready soon…

In the meantime, I attach a pair of small presents… (well, 3 in fact):

  • An Orangután (Pongo pygmaeus) from the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. They rehabilitate orphaned and confiscated orangutans. The younger receive medical care at the nursery. When they are adults, they are released to the Sepilok Forest Reserve, where they live free. Twice per year, some food is offered to the free orangutans at the platforms. When the rainforest is plenty of food, just a few of them go there to eat, but this food suplement is quite important for them to survive during the dry season, when there is few food available around.

Orangutà

  • A group of Bornean Pigmy Elephants (Elephas maximus borneensis) taking a bath and playing at the Kinabatangan River. When we arrived to the Kinabatangan Jungle Camp (KJC) we were told that there was an elephants group near there, but that they were moving away (they had been at KJC few days before – their marks were still visible). It was the perfect day to go to see them. The elephants were eating at the river bank and some of them started to bath and to play inside the water, actually trying to drown each other.

Pigmy elephant

  • A Rafflesia, the biggest and rarest flower of the world: it is a parasitic flowering plant, it has no leaves, no stems or true roots. It takes it 9 months to develop and once opened it lasts only for one week. The photo shows a one-day Rafflesia (right), the leftovers of a putrid one (center) and one which is still developing (left). The diameter of the one on the photo (Rafflesia Keithii) was about 65 cm. while the biggest species can reach 90-100 cm.

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I will upload the entire Borneo Gallery soon and I will explain you further things about this terrific travel.

Many thanks for your patience.

Best regards,

Esther

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