Conservation and life in Borneo

Monkey Business

The other day I went with some of the other BSBCC staff to
This long-nosed monkey is locally know as a bangkatan.

Labuk Bay proboscis monkey sanctuary. It’s essentially just an area which was spared from being turned into oil palm plantation because the owners realised that [a] it would have cost money to drain the land and [b] they could make good money charging tourists to see the monkeys.
Sepilok charges Malaysians 5 Ringgit to see the orangutans; it’s 30 if you are a foreigner…. but here the price is double! This kind of discrimination really annoys me…. especially when it is done by non-bumi Malaysians, who themselves complain to me of discrimination in this country. It would be nice if the BSBCC adopts a less racist approach, but I’m not going to hold my breath on that one.

The staff there have several feeding platforms with staggered feeding times throughout the day, where the bankatan -whose natural diet is of mostly leaves- are fed bread and cake! Yes, I saw it with my own eyes. Incredible. However, these monkeys seemed happy enough and were easy enough to photograph. Zoo-types would certainly rate the experience high for “visitor satisfaction”, though it would not surprise me if this would be to the detriment of the monkeys’ long-term health.

Lastly I’d like to add that they do have a nice board-walk and the mangrove they have left is beautiful. I’s just a shame that you have to drive through mile after mile of depressing oil palm plantation to get to this tiny oasis of very humanised wildlife.


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