Close encounters with dangly nosed monkeys!

Labuk Bay Travel Blog

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Ridiculous :)

   After our arrival back to Sandikan from Uncle Tans we decided that we would take a day trip to a place called Labuk Bay where you had the chance to see Proboscis monkeys fairly close. Although we had seen these very charasmatic, unique monkeys along the Kinabatangan river we were never really close enough to see anything other than an outline of something with a large dangling nose sitting in a tree. We caught a shuttle bus from the town to Labuk Bay which took about 2 hours. Labuk bay slotted in perfectly to the long list of ironicly odd places where wild life is still clinging on. A couple of brothers, both named Mr Lee, bought a large plot of forest a few years ago with the view of setting up a vast palm oil plantation.

Gimme my pancakes
Whilst logging the forest they discovered that they actually had about 200 proboscis monkeys living on the land. The brothers thankfully took pitty on the monkeys and instead of shooting them or chucking them out ontom the unforgiving streets they decided that they would leave some of the forest in tact for the monkeys to live in.

Picture a patch of forest surrounded by palm oil plantations and you will have Labuk Bay! Although some of the forest was left in tact for the monkeys sadly not enough was saved to sustain them. Therefore the brothers decided that they would suppliment the monkeys diet with fruit, vegetables and sugar free pancakes. Seeing as these monkeys are purely leaf eaters normally you would think that they may not thrive on this diet but from what we saw they all looked very happy and healthy.

Cheeky male
Within the forest patch there are 2 platforms which you can visit, both have 2 times during the day that the monkeys are fed. As well as the proboscis monkeys there are also a few opportunistic Silver Leaf monkeys, and otter who we guessed was an orphaned they rescued and apparently a fish eagle although we didnt see it.

Upon our arrival at the platform we saw a small group of silver leaf monkeys patrolling the area where people stand looking for any stray beans. After a few moments there were various crashing noises coming towards us through the forest a slowly a trickle of proboscis monkeys started to arrive. We were told that there are 4 family groups and 4 bachelor groups in total in the area. 2 of each of the groups visit each platform. Within each family group there were about 6-8 females, 1 dominant male, 4 or 5 babies and a couple of juvinile males.

frisky female
The females dont have noses quite as impressive as the males, but are still very odd looking with really long, muscular legs and smaller, only slightly dagly noses. They were great to watch, holding their babies by the tails whenever they tried to scamper off, grooming each other and when not engorging themselves on pancakes and cucumber, were lounging around in the trees much like people do when they are slumped in front of the T.V. The males were huge, and looked very much like those people who tend to look down on others. They all looked very self- assured and would always plonk themselves in the middle of females, posing and wanting to be adored, not so different from some men really.... They seemed to have constant erections which symbolised what went on in their heads for most of the time and the amount of babies that were around seemed to prove this.
old wonky

A large male came confidently striding up to where me and Ben were standing, our hearts started pounding as we immediately thought he was going to attack us but instead he just sat right in front of us and just stared at us, then someone passed him some food and he sat for ages just eating and posing for pictures, a cheeky female came to try to take some food but he slapped her round the face and she didnt seem inclined to want to try again, I cant imagine why! After a snap happy few hours or so with the proboscis monkeys we headed back along the boardwalk towards the bus and noticed something brightly coloured on the path in front of us. It turned out to be a flying snake and was absolutely stunning with bright red spots and a black and yellow body.

cute blue faced baby
We also spotted some mutantly large mud skippers, I never knew mud skippers could grow larger than the size of your little finger but these guys were beasts, very cool to see. We had a great time at Labuk Bay and its nice to see that some of the plantation owners do care, the Mr Lee's plan to turn their plantation back into forest and are slowly replanting trees. Fingers crossed the monkeys there continue to flourish and once enough trees have been planted won't need to be helped by human hands any longer

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Ridiculous :)
Ridiculous :)
Gimme my pancakes
Gimme my pancakes
Cheeky male
Cheeky male
frisky female
frisky female
old wonky
old wonky
cute blue faced baby
cute blue faced baby
Labuk Bay
photo by: mpope9