Monday, November 19, 2012

Monyet Belanda

After going through some pains to set up our trip to central Kalimantan (only two airlines fly to Pangkalan Bun and tickets for those flights are not for sale on the internet or from travel agents... thanks to Ibu Erna for her help... sigh), I had a nagging fear that we wouldn't actually see any wildlife...

My fears were quickly  put to rest when, not an hour into our klotok ride, we spotted this troop of  proboscis monkeys, an endangered species endemic to Borneo, cold chillin' in the trees on the side of the Sekonyer River:


Called "monyet belanda" ("Dutch monkey") by Indonesians because of their physical similarities to the Dutch colonizers (big noses, big pot bellies), these monkeys are pretty crazy looking...  our guide thought it was pretty hilarious that I knew that term for them.  Got a good giggle from him. The noses on the ladies are pointy and strangely human-like, as you can see above, whereas the noses on the males are these massively fat and ridiculous phallic looking things.  It was hard to grab a clear shot of the male nose because there is only one male per group of monkeys, and our guide told us that the males are shy because, and I quote, "the male genitals are always ready."  

But we did catch this one below doing some brachiating, which is great:


After catching sight of the monkeys, our captain pulled the boat over so we could ogle/gawk/squeal/take photos... as we watched the monkeys hanging out, the captain made a loud squeaky noise at them that he clearly knew they wouldn't like.  This one below, who was happily being groomed until we busted in on the party, was particularly freaked out by the noise and made his displeasure known:


This is the back of the big male of the group.  He was significantly larger than the ladies... and you can see that his back fur is kinda strange- it almost looks like a plate of armor or a thick sweater on his back, doesn't it?


Here are some frontal shots of his giant schnoz... a little hard to see, but you can just make it out through the tree branches:


After seeing this first bunch, we pretty much saw gangs of monyet belanda on the regular, hanging out riverside, especially at dusk, as they apparently are wont to forage there in the evenings:



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