Published: June 6th 2010June 4th 2010
The alarm went off at 7am and roused us from our sleepytime. Today we got to do what we came to Sumatra to do in the first place; see Orangutans in the wild.
After breakfast in the cafe we got picked up by one of the guides and taken to some housing in the village where our other guide was getting out of bed and getting dressed. When they had both readied themselves and bought supplies for the trek (breakfast, fruit and fags) we headed off. First we went through some rubber plantations on the edge of the national park, where we saw how the trees are cut and bled for the rubber.
After that we passed a sign to say we were entering the national park and we were soon in jungle. Suse immediately spotted a tiny black snake dashing for cover which was coiling itself and hopping. It wasnt long before we saw our first Orangutan, it was a huge male one (the dominant one we were told) sat in a tree watching us watch him. He didn't move much except for the odd scratch. A few metres further down the trail we saw a mother and
baby making their way through the trees above us, they didn't get very close though, just watched from a distance.
After the guides ate breakfast we walked further and again, almost immediately spotted another mother and baby Orangutan who clambered through the trees stopping right in front of us to check us out (or rather check if we had food). The Orangutans here were mostly not born in the wild, many were rescued from captivity and trained to live in the wild, then released into the national park. There are daily feedings at a spot in the forest to give fruit to any Orangutans that turn up. Apparently they don't get too much food, so they still have to find food in the wild.
After that encounter one guide went ahead looking for wildlife while the other walked with us telling us interesting things about the jungle. We spotted some Thomas Leaf Monkeys high in the trees and I spotted a squirrel. We saw some huge ants (which are apparently edible). We tried an edible leaf which tasted like unripe gooseberrys and also ate some quinine bark which apparently protects against malaria.
We had a spot of
uphill trekking then encountered more Orangutans. First there was one just by the trail making its way passed, but then two young Orangutans turned up playing in the trees (they came right over our heads). Whilst we watched our guides warned us that Mina was coming. Mina is a dominant female Orangutan in the area and notoriously aggressive to people (attacked over 80 people). At her arrival the guides seemed more nervous than anyone, me and Suse hid behind a tree whilst they lured her away with some fruit. There was also another Orangutan there too who was watching curiously until it was chased away by monkeys.
When the trek was over we were well pleased and decided to check out the feeding the next day to see more of the awesome creatures.
After a small relax at our guesthouse we walked with Jon and Jean who were leaving then got our permits to see the feeding tomorrow. There was a market on at the bus station so we walked up to check it out (the market was the talk of the village). Just before we arrived it started raining- heavy. The market seemed to be in a
state of clear up so we just headed back in the rain.
Spent the night playing scrabble and talking with Opick (the guy who looks after the Guesthouse). We tried to teach him some English words and probably confused him with our explanation of grammar and tense.
It was a wicked day and cant wait for the feeding tomorrow.
There are more photos below