SEEING ORANGUTANS IN SOUTH-EAST ASIA
Replies: 265 - Last Post: May 24, 2013 10:48 PM Last Post By: lucapal
Nov 27, 2012 6:05 AM
255I would like to set the record straight on one issue: research at Gunung Palung and tourism at Cabang Panti. (Cabang Panti is the research site located in the heart of Gunung Palung - one of the few remaining pristine forests in West Kalimantan).
I conducted research for quite some time at Gunung Palung and Cabang Panti, and consider myself very lucky to have had the opportunity. It is an astounding place.
It is -- and has always been -- the opinion of researchers, the research community, and the current research projects active at Cabang Panti that tourism should be welcome in so far as it does not interfere with the research goals of the area. (Which are, loosely, to study un-disturbed populations of primates, and other species in an undisturbed habitat.) To that end, limited tourism, managed in a responsible manner can, and should be accommodated at Cabang Panti. (By limited, researchers have recommended limits on group size, and a monthly quota).
It is true that the research site was shut down to tourism for a period of time. That was not the decision of researchers, but rather a unilateral move by the previous park administration.
It is true that the research site is now re-opened to tourism, and the park would have visitors believe that the only way to visit is by using Nasalis, an "eco-tourism company" that just happens to be owned and operated by the National Park employees and administrators. (Whether Nasalis is a Government entity -- in which case all proceeds are required to go to the central park office in Jakarta -- or a private company is not clear.)
In fact, the current park administration is so interested in the possibilities of tourism, that the park spontaneously kicked the long-term research projects out of the buildings at Cabang Panti to make room for "park management activities" which include tourism. (Note: The buildings were built with research money in cooperation with the previous park administration for the express purpose of conducting long-term research. Researchers have always welcomed tourists to stay in the buildings, and have even offered to help the park build additional buildings to house tourists.)
It has been over a year (as of this post) that researchers have NOT been allowed to utilize the buildings -- forced to live and work under tarps and tents, while the park has hosted a small but steady stream of tourists at Cabang Panti.
I have not been to Cabang Panti in a while, but as of last summer, the buildings were in advanced decay since the park refuses to allow researchers to maintain them, and has done no maintenance of its own.
So be aware that your trip to Cabang Panti, at the prices quoted by Nasalis will have you staying in formerly beautiful buildings that now have growing holes in the floor, leaks in the roof, and rotting steps. If you decide to go, be sure to say hi to the researchers camped out back. They are a friendly group.
(cross-posted from this thread.)
Edited by: FriendofGP
Feb 19, 2013 6:24 AM
256BATANG AI - Report from September 2012
After some research about the area my boyfriend and I decided to take the plunge and go for an expensive trip to Batang Ai, hoping to see wild orangutans. Pushed for time in our overall trip to Borneo, we decided it would be easier to book something, rather than attempt it solo, as we both would have preferred to try.
The 3 day 2 night tour was expensive but the same price as all the tour operators in Kuching, I can't remember the name of the company but the guy had a tree house as his unique selling point.
To summarise: the trip was nice but not what we were expecting, it was certainly more of a cultural trip than a nature trip, and we were after the latter rather than the former. We stayed one night in a modern long house, and the second in the tree house. We spent most of the second day walking to the tree house, but made it back to the longhouse on the third morning in what seemed like 30 mins, so it really wasn't that far away. (we had just walked a long, slow way round to get there).
We didn't see orangutans, nor much other wildlife; I think you'd have to get very lucky to see wild orangutans there. We did see many orangutan nests, so they're certainly in the area.
Overall I'd say unless you have more time and someone who knows where to look for orangutans in the area, I wouldn't count on Batang Ai as a place to see them.
Mar 20, 2013 10:56 PM
257orangutans are my favorite, and you shared a lot's of information about them , so thank u for sharing your information with us in this forum., and here some Fun Facts About Orangutans i got in google search: Orangutans are highly intelligent and use tools:
They will poke twigs into holes to catch insects, chew up leaves and use them as sponges and use branches and sticks to test the depth of water before entering it.
Orangutans are sometimes referred to as “red apes.”
Orangutans are the only Great Ape found outside Africa.
Orangutans are the only “red” ape.
Orangutans are the only strictly arboreal ape, meaning that they spend their lives in the forest canopy.
Orangutans breed slower than any other primate and have approximately 3 offspring in their lifetime.
Sumatran orangutans have lighter hair, longer beards and narrower cheekpads than Borean orangutans.
Mar 21, 2013 1:28 AM
258I was "Bashed" by a notorious orangutan (forgotten her name lol) on the trail Bukit lawang, Sumatra and saw a few at Kutai National park, East kalimatan thanks for the added difference between Borneo and Sumatran orangutans.
As she came charging through the trail towards us everyone on the trek ran into the bushes I said "why are you running away ? Its an orangutan" then the guide screamed at me "get out she dangerous!" but too late and she bashed against my shoulder as she charged past I swung around and just managed to stroke the baby on her back, which gave me such a dirty look as if to say "Who do you think you are stroking me" after the bruised shoulder the guide rushed back to me to see if I was Ok and told me she was renowned for attacking tourists I think there's posting on her above somewhere, so not all cuddlly and sweet ha! Ha!
Mar 31, 2013 1:52 PM
259...to stroke the baby on her back... Just despicable, foolish, Homer-Simpson-visits-the-jungle. Precisely what you are not suppose to do! Congratulations to "forgot her name LOL" The o/p sneers about places like Sepilok where bozos like Montyman are unable to come in contact with the local inhabitants, but the behaviour of Montyman is the best argument for keeping tourists away entirely from wild creatures and a place like Sepilok (which I liked a great deal and the very few tourists there while I was there, were quiet and respectful) provides a great service in many ways.
Apr 1, 2013 1:34 AM
260I too sneer at sepilok and this Bozo wouldn't even consider going there as it is just play with baby orangutans and there is very little area there or them to be released anyway, which I doubt any are actually relased as they are too often handled by tourists. I agree my naivity and without thinking action of stroking the baby orangutan on its belligerent mothers back, when doing the jungle trek at bukit lawang, was a pleasant mistake, as I could have been seriously injured as others were apparently. I still think Bukit Kawang and Kuatai National park are best places for helping orangutans back to the wild than the tourist play with an orangutan theme park that sepilok has become.
That's why this Bozo refuses to go there, even when I was close by up Mt Kinabalu.
Obviously I bow to your superior knowledge of this species Tonto, was that also gained by your day trip to sepilok orangutang theme park?
May 24, 2013 2:21 PM
261Really good information in this thread. I'm planning on being in Borneo this summer and would appreciate some help evaluating a few options.
My main objectives are to see orangutans in the wild and to get good photographs of them (I'm definitely not a pro but it's a "strong" hobby and I lug around heavy cameras/lenses so want to put them into use!).
I also would like to see proboscis monkeys and pygmy elephants.
I will have approximately one week. My initial idea was to do Kinabatangan for a couple days with the hopes of seeing elephants and expecting some chance of seeing orangutans, but not a guarantee, and certainly not expecting to get any great photos.
Then I'd go to Tanjung Puting expecting to get great photos due to the feeding sessions. However, based on seeing this thread, I'm having second thoughts about the value of Tanjung Puting. Mainly because (a) it's pretty annoying to get to from Malaysian Borneo and (b) because the original post basically calls it a glorified rehab center.
Danum Valley seems like it'd be a great alternative since it sounds like a better overall authentic experience, but photography is very important to me, so my conflict is that if I just do Kinabatangan and Danum Valley, it seems like there's a good chance I'd finish the week with very few good shots.
It sounds like the Sepilok rehab center is quite bad overall and not ideal for photography. Is that basically the only feeding station in the area? It does sound like despite the negatives of Tanjung Puting it is the best for photography? I don't have time (and I think it'd get a bit repetitive) to go to all 3 places (Kinabatangan, Danum Valley, Tanjung Puting).
Thanks for any advice
May 24, 2013 10:33 PM
262On the photography at Sepilok..
You will see plenty of orang utans there,and you are fairly close to them.Not much different from a zoo really....and as you can take close up photos in a zoo,so you can at Sepilok.
However..there are a lot more tourists at a feeding session at Sepilok than there are when you go to the zoo ;-)
I found Semenggoh(in Sarawak) better for photos as there are fewer people,more open natural surroundings (orang utans coming into the feeding platforms from every direction through the trees) and the whole thing was less controlled...the orang utans were walking around on the paths and getting very close-up to the spectators.
May 24, 2013 10:34 PM
May 24, 2013 10:40 PM
May 24, 2013 10:48 PM
265You can see orangs in the wild pretty easily at Kinabatangan,but they are up in the trees,and you are in a boat..not the easiest to get great photos.
Certainly when I was at Sepilok (2 years ago) touching the orang utans was forbidden (as it should be)...there was no cuddling going on,at least not for the general public!
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