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Asia » Malaysia » Sabah » Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary
November 21st 2010
Published: November 23rd 2010EDIT THIS ENTRY

Occasionally I go to Sandakan, more out of necessity than out of choice. And when I was sitting in a street cafe there the other day, looking at the scruffy surroundings, the rubbish in the street, the run-down apartment blocks, I was thinking how amazing nature is in comparison to man-made structures - nothing in nature is wasted, nothing is ill-conceived, everything is perfect just as it is. And I remembered a quote by John Burroughs, "I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.” So it’s not surprising that I prefer to spend my days off exactly there – in nature.
I may go for walks on my own in the forest around Sepilok, where I encountered red-leafed monkeys recently and spent ages following them, trying to get a picture. And one time Maria and I went to Turtle Island, where we had a lovely, relaxing day at the beach and at night were lucky enough to watch a large green turtle come ashore and lay eggs. On another occasion our group spent a night at a jungle camp at Tanjung Bulat Lake, serenaded by a myriad of frogs and cicadas. And in the morning we saw our first truly wild orang-utan - a large male, who bombarded us with branches and threatened us with loud smacking noises. And although I am surrounded by orang-utans every day to see this guy was a humbling and at the same time exhilarating experience. We also went to Gomantong cave to see how swiftlet nests are being harvested for bird's nest soup; and we cruised along the Kinabatangan River where we saw proboscis monkeys, rare storks and more wild orang-utans. And the more time I spent surrounded by nature, the more I could feel her healing powers...


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collecting turtle eggscollecting turtle eggs
collecting turtle eggs

as soon as the turtle lays her eggs they are being collected and brought to the hatchery for protection
turtle hatcheryturtle hatchery
turtle hatchery

the green wire mesh protects the eggs from predators like monitor lizards
good luck, little friend...good luck, little friend...
good luck, little friend...

Maria and I found this little guy in a pond the morning after all his siblings had been released. We took him to the beach and he swam into the sunrise...
a mossy bird's nesta mossy bird's nest
a mossy bird's nest

in Chinese tradition eating bird's nest soup is believed to have many benefits. This is a mossy nest, i.e. it only contains small amounts of bird saliva. These nests can still fetch up to 2000 MYR per kg. The "true" bird's nests consist entirely of swiftlet saliva and a kg sells from 5000 MYR upwards...


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