This morning we awoke very early to try and use the internet as, in theory at least, there should be less traffic but this idea was crap so still we had no luck connecting. This was not good for us because we still needed to book our flight to Manila and were trying to find out just how picky the Filipinos really were about us requiring an onward ticket – the answers seemed to be either its ‘an absolute necessity’ or ‘no problem, the Filipinos are cool’ depending upon who you spoke to.
Still no more time for IT shenanigans as we had more wildlife to see so off to Sepilok we went with a transfer shuttle that ran from our hotel. Sepilok seems to do a great job of at least protecting the animals in its care (Orang Utans and Sun Bears) and they have a lot of park area to call home. First when we got there though we saw quite an unusual sign portraying that Orang Utans seem to like looking up women’s skirts – I liked these animals already … lol.
Once in though, we were only there two minutes and I spotted one (and took a bow to the assembled throng – Liz and two others on the walkway path). Although the animals come down to the feeding tables so can be viewed eating, besides that they have so much room they are quite difficult to see.
The Orang Utans’ morning feed was still a while off so we went for a bit of a wander about and saw where the orphaned animals were taught the life skills they needed to interact with the rest of the group but as nothing was happening there either we went back and awaited the (hopefully) hungry diners. The first strolled up slightly earlier than the actual attendant – there is always one who needs to be at the front of the queue! As the keeper entered onto centre stage the diners albeit very slowly, started rolling up. They are really beautiful animals with faces that always look tinged with sadness, as if they remember a time when they could traverse the whole of Borneo without touching terra firma treetop to treetop. As ever, there are always the jokers, the bullies and the quiet ones just as in every society and they arrived from different sections of the canopy on different ropes – never too many at a time though – in order to grab breakfast or elevenses for the early risers. The big awwww moment was when a mother came down with her baby clinging to her and as the baby was a newcomer to the world it did not have quite the same sad face, perhaps mothers tell their babies stories or as they age they gain the wisdom to understand all is not well for them or their kind.
The baby was cool though trying to peep from behind mum’s back whilst grabbing whatever was on offer. After the feeding they all went high up into the branches as easily as they came down and actually trying to see them when they were in their world once more became trickier than mine or Liz’s unaided eyes could manage so off we went. Again nothing was happening at the OU Kindergarten so we decided on a snack and a stroll to the Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC).
The RDC was quite a walk but not an unpleasant one as the area is all quite green and there were lots of plants to see. Once there we decided on a walk to take us round outside of the Centre to a vantage point at the end of the ‘park’, then on the way back were hoping to go on the Canopy walkway. The walk was very good and quite informative too as there were plenty of boards about telling visitors about the area, trees and wildlife. We reached the tower and at the top there was a ‘twitcher’ who just seemed to be enjoying the birds on show for him (without twitching), so we had a bit of a look – keeping respectfully quiet – and then left him to it. On the way back we also came across another tower which we went up to try and get a glimpse of which direction we needed to be heading in to go towards the Canopy Walkway but although we roughly knew where it should be – i.e. Canopy level – we could not actually anything.
More walking ensued and we even came upon one of the Walk’s towers but after climbing up the (rusty) ladder I realised it was the maintenance ladder and not a shortcut, so down I came and we walked on finally reaching signs and once more civilisation and, at last, the entrance to the walkway. The Canopy Walkway was good as it was high and we were the only ones up there and again we managed to see more Hornbills but it was difficult to see anything else so we left the walkway and the Centre just as a rush started.
Once back to Sepilok we decided that rather than go back into the Orang Utan centre that we would take a look in at next door at where they kept Sun Bears. In a similar format to the apes, bears that are found or orphaned are given a home and where necessary rehabilitated.
These were really cute looking animals until you saw their claws which still looked like they could do some serious damage. A couple of them were play-fighting but even this looked quite vicious but then I am not a bear. Whilst there the bears were fed and the feeding brought over some Macaques coming after the bear’s food but they were quite scared of the bears so had to settle themselves on small raids of the fruits being given out so they were left with slim pickings.
After this we went back to the Orang Utans and as there was a bit of time before their next feeding we went to the enclosure where the youngest apes were taught ape-like things. Here one of the older males seemed to be getting amorous with the younger females and had to keep getting told off by the keeper – he looked quite apologetic whilst the keeper inflicted his warnings then once he had gone it was business as usual … lol.
We went back to the feeding area and prior to them eating a couple of adolescents messed about on the roof of the meshed viewing area we were all stood in – show offs!
The feeding time was once again good viewing and seeing the apes interact is always very interesting as they are not that dissimilar from humans at all really but it was all too soon time be getting back on the bus and home to the dorm.