Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Orangutans at Rasa Ria, Borneo

by Bex

You may not believe this (actually, you probably will) but I've edited these pictures down from around 700 to 98 to what you see below.  I haven't counted them, I just added all 98 then removed as many as I could bear so as not to overwhelm you!  TOO MUCH CUTENESS!!!
Edit: OK, I counted them, there are 66 but hopefully you'll agree that they're all worth sharing - it's just too tough, I'm a crap editor!!  Edit again: Diana came up with the brilliant idea of being ultra selective here but if you want to see all 98 pictures - you can head over to my Photobucket album!  :)

We returned to Rasa Ria on this trip because Nik hadn't been and my Uncle and his family wanted to see the orangutans too.  What we hadn't expected was to be staying in the amazing Shangri La resort where the orangutans are.  Mum and Dad planned it as a surprise for everyone and booked us all rooms there!  They'd told us they'd found a nice but cheap B&B for the night but drove us up to the hotel when we arrived!!  It was amazing and there will be a post to follow about the hotel and what else we got up to there.

Anyway, the orangutan sanctuary at Rasa Ria works in conjunction with the larger sanctuary at Sepilok.  They look after the young orphans beginning their rehabilitation before they are transferred to Sepilok when they are older for the next phases before being reintroduced to the wild.  At Rasa Ria, they live in the rainforest within 64 acre nature reserve and are free to wander off if they wish but as they receive food, love and care while they are young and they seem content to stay while they learn to take care of themselves from the rangers.  Members of the public are asked to refrain from touching or feeding them as they want to keep interaction with humans to a minimum as part of their rehabilitation.  Keeping your distance can be difficult as sometimes the orangutans are a bit mischievous and swing down onto the viewing platform, trying to steal drinks, cameras or anything shiny (as you'll see in one of the videos if you make it to the bottom)!  We had to move back to give them space while the ranger tried to keep them back.  It also showed their playful side and need to be loved as they cuddled into the rangers and played with them.

Itinban

At present there are 3 young orangutans at the resort.  Two of them came down from the forest to eat and play while we were there.  Wulan, a 5 yr old female rescued by plantation workers in Luasong in 2009 and Itinban, a 3 yr old male found abandoned at an Oil Palm Plantation in Tawau in 2011.  As they roam free in the forest, there is no guarantee you will see the orangutans when you visit.  It costs around £10 per person to spend an hour with these magical creatures and they have a shop to help raise more funds for the conservation of these amazing animals.

Our first glimpse as we came to the viewing platform

Munching on fruit and leaves
These next photos were taken by Nik at the end after everyone else had left but show how close the viewing platform is to the feeding platform.  



It's a 3 story platform so you get a great view although may have to shuffle to get a good position for photos as the orangutans move all around the area.

Wulan and Itinban (Wulan is the uber fluffy one!)



They often have to be taken back to the feeding platform when they get too close to the public.  They seem to love cuddling the rangers, they are only babies after all, it was so cute watching them cling to their wellies and enjoy the ride being walked away from the viewing platform.






It was so much fun watching them going up and down the trees, swinging from branch to branch.  You can see all that orange fluff glowing in the sunshine in these backlit photos...









They are so funny to watch with so many expressions and they behave much like human children, Wulan was sulking with the rangers when they wouldn't let her near us.


"Why won't you let me play with all these humans!?"

"Fine, I'll just chew my hair!"


"Siiiiiiigh"

She went to sit by the other ranger for a while and he playfully flicked her pout.



She was loving it.


Their hands and feet are so human-like.




It was awesome!  I was obviously frantically clicking away and getting so excited about the photos I managed to capture.  Seeing them so up close (I promise I did take some time to just take it in without looking through the lens!) behaving so cheekily and clearly having fun with their audience was magical.

And as a wee bonus, some more videos Nik took on the other camera while I was snapping away.






On our way back we went past a brace of ducks including a superhero duck with his own orange eye mask!  ;)  (I think they're Muscovy ducks.)


4 comments:

Ashleigh M said...

They are adorable I love the baldy one! It's funny you can hear you're camera going off the whole way through, I now understand how you got so many photos! Xox

Penny said...

I LOVE WULAN!!! Bex these pictures are amazing you must be so chuffed with them. I love that orangs stay "children" for so long, look how cute and cuddly they are....and their expressions are priceless ....awww...no wonder you had such a hard time editing them down *off to photobucket*

Px

Amanda M said...

Love the pole dancer pose - legs akimbo!

Siobhan said...

I love these Bex! The photos are great and they are all just so adorable. LOVE <3

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