For those of you who have been following along since Varkala, you will notice that Disco’s beard and barnet have thrived in the exposure to sunlight which Blighty does not usual offer at this time of year. Thus, it was fitting that we visited an orangutan sanctuary when he was in his wildest phase.
We boarded a 7+ hour bus from Kota Kinabalu and were dropped off in the pitch black at a roundabout to find the way to our accommodation in the treetops (more on that later). Fortuitously, a man in a pickup truck spotted that we were out of place and drove us deeper into the rainforest in the right general direction of our hostel.
This guy arrived at 10 am on the dot, as if he was wearing a watch and feasted on papaya and bananas. It was the only orangutan that came to this feeding and the volunteers that work there said it was probably newly introduced to the rainforest because it was still relying on the platform for food. The orangutans that have been rehabilitated for longer don’t come to the feeding platform at this time of year because there is enough food in the trees.
After this we went up to the training area where newly rescued orangutans play in the nursery and are taught to socialise and climb. These orangutans are rescued from people who have kept them in cages as pets or are orphaned from deforestation as a result of palm oil plantations being planted in lieu of rain forest.
On our way back from the nursery we were lucky enough to spot an orangutan in the trees very near to the footpath we were walking on. It was swinging around and generally having a swell time showing off for the cameras that had gathered.
This was a really captivating day and the man of the forest is awesome to see.