when animals attack
Sandakan Travel Blog› entry 6 of 8 › view all entries
Arriving back at the tour center for lunch I was starving (the frights I had on the road stirred up quite an appitite). We had a lovely lunch, checked into our room and then went back to the Orang-utan center for the afternoon feeding.
Our new friends from the river told us that the afternoon was much less crowded and they were right. There were only about 20 people there. So peaceful. And more orang-utans, too. Older ones this time. They were playful with each other and gengle towards the younger ones. There was one male hiding in the canopy, apparently he had had a fight with another orang-utan and was on the "outs" with this group. He'd get close to the platform but an adult would then get on the ropes and chase him away.
Around 330pm Ryan and I went on a little hike through the forest. We wanted to see a watering hole where other animals were said to congregate. It was an easy walk, hot and humid with strange insects making the loudest noises ever. It was fun...then we ran into people returning from the watering hole.
They looked us up and down and said "You're quite brave- walking in sandals. But you should keep going, the watering hole is very nice." You see, there are leaches in the jungle. LEACHES- blood sucking creatures from nightmares. These people were dressed in long slacks with boots and leach socks. I looked at Ryan and said that we should try to go on; the other people said we might be okay if we walked very carefully and didn't step in any water.
And then Ryan got one. In between his toes! And then we started seeing them everywhere: on the leaves, twigs, on the ground. So gross. That was it- we turned around and headed back. By this point it's about 430pm, the park gate close at 4 and don't let anyone else in but those already in the park can stay. We emerged from the trail, very happy to be on solid groud with no leaches, and walked back to the gate.
Walking happily along, saying how glad we were to be out of the forest and walked smack into a troupe of monkeys. Pig tailed macaques actually. The kinds that steal all your stuff. When I say troupe I mean more monkeys than I have ever seen in one place- at least 30 of them sitting on the walkway, the railings, the trees everywhere.
We paused for a bit, watched them play and took video and pictures. I thought that, being this close to the walkway, they were used to humans. So we got a little closer and everything was fine. A large female climbed up onto the railing right beside me and looked me in the face and then went on her business. I took this to mean that they were thinking, "Ugh, more smelly humans...ignore them."
But no- not at all. I am a silly human, I know that now. We packed all our belongings (hats, cameras, sunglasses) into our bags so they wouldn't steal anything and tried to walk through them. And BOOM- a huge male came flying across the walkway, landed on the vine next to us, bared his teeth and growled. That was enough for me- I stopped and began to slowly back away. Once around the corner I ran. I don't care how cute they were, that monkey scared the wits out of me.
Good lesson though- they are WILD ANIMALS. No matter how cute, or human-like, they are creatures of a world that we do not belong in. The forest is thier territory and we were tresspassing. Whoo- it was an exciting afternoon and we slept very well once the adreniline wore off.