Wednesday, June 26

Be prepared to be amazed by flora, fauna of Kinabatangan

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A REAL TREAT: Visitors to the wildlife sanctuary taking photos of a Proboscis monkey hanging from a tree branch along the Kinabantangan riverbank.

KOTA KINABATANGAN: The Sungai Kinabatangan is 560 km long.

It starts at the Crocker Range in the southwest of Sabah and ends at the Sulu Sea. It is the longest river in the ‘land below the wind’.

Near the river, 10 species of primates can be found, including the Proboscis monkey, the Orang Utan and the Bornean gibbon.

The place is home to 250 bird, 50 mammal, 20 reptile and 1,056 plant species.

Planning to see wildlife near Sungai Kinabatangan? Then, travel in a boat along the river. Boat rides along Sungai Kinatangan begin at 6am. The last boat ride is at 4pm.

Recently, this writer had the opportunity to view flora and fauna along the Kinabatangan riverbank. Along with two friends, she took the evening boat ride to view the wilderness and natural habitats there.

The two-hour boat ride, which began at the Sukau Greenview lodge, was priced at RM30 per person. From the boat, visitors could see the Sukau village and a few other lodges and resorts.

“Look, they are sitting on the branches of those trees. They are eating wild fruits,” exclaimed a passenger while pointing at a few trees.

An adult Orang Utan sitting on one of the branches of a tree on the Kinabatangan riverbank had caught the attention of several visitors.

“These wild animals are seen near the banks of the river. They hide behind trees and on branches,” said a passenger, Rose Azrin Dahlan, a communications consul “However, the thinning forest canopy does not allow these animals to go into hiding. They come closer to the riverbank because their natural habitats, which are deep in the woods, have been taken over by humans,” she said.

Orang Utans are large apes that live on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. These apes mostly live on the branches of trees and swing from branch to branch using their arms.

The word ‘Orang Utan’ means ‘man of the forest’ in the Malay language.

As its habitats are being taken over by man, the number of Orang Utans is decreasing and the species is in grave danger of extinction.

This writer also saw many Proboscis monkeys on several branches of trees by the river.

These monkeys with long noses are found in the South-east Asian island of Borneo. They have unusually large noses.

The Proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus) or the ‘long-nosed monkey’ is also known as ‘bekantan’ in Malay.

The monkey has another name — monyet belanda.

These monkeys have large, extended bellies, as though they are pregnant.

Male monkeys have larger noses than the females. According to those who are familiar with these primates, the monkeys’ noses swell and turn red when they are either excited or angry.

They feed on leaves, and they are the only medium-sized mammals in the canopy of the forest. — Bernama