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Published: April 15th 2013
We were up at 6am for the 7am bus to Semenggoh Park. It is possible to take a guided tour, but they're considerably more expensive and there's still no guarantee that you'll see anything. (45 MYR vs 16) Since it's fruiting season, many of the rehabilitated orangutans are eating fruit in the trees and not coming down to feeding platforms where we await them with our cameras.
We arrived at 8am and walked to the viewing area. Around 820 or so one of the workers said we could see the orangutans. The few of us there lined up to see.
It wasn't just an orangutan. It was the big one, the alpha male, Ritchie, and another smaller (teenager?) one up in the trees climbing about.
The workers gave them some fruit and we watched them for twenty minutes. Then the alpha male began to climg; he moved so much faster than I would have imagined, given his size. We watched him climb high above us and over us, and we all moved back to a corner just in case something should fall.
Suddenly he climbed down and ripped a large branch off of a tree. Such a
force really surprised me--I had no idea they were so strong! "He's in a bad mood!" the worker yelled. "Get back!" And we ran, scurrying about to give him more space. They tried to persuade him to go to the main feeding platform, but he wasn't moving and just stared at us like we were crazy.
We went down a path to the main platform at 9am. Enroute, the younger one was above us in the trees and they gave him a bottle. We all stood below, fascinated, as he ripped off the top with his teeth and gulped it down. Then tour groups started to arrive and we all finished walking to the platform to wait.
Even though we'd arrived, the orangutans did not. Techincally, their non-appearance is a good sign, because it means the rehabilitation is working. But as far as most were concerned, this was not what they paid for and there was a lot of grumbling. (So glad I came early!)
At about 945 the worker took his bucket of bananas from the platform and climbed down. Those of us that still remained (some tours had already
left) turned to leave, too. We were sad we didn't see more, but grateful we saw what we did.
Suddenly, we were told to proceed to the field near the first feeding platform. A mama and her baby were there and looking for something to eat. They were given fruit as well, and we watched while they shared it, snapping as many photos as possible. The baby liked to steal fruit from its mother.
At 1030 we were all asked to leave. Satisfied, we strolled out to the bus stop, excitedly talking about how lucky we'd been to see 4 orangutans. Our bus arrived at 1115 and we napped on the way back.
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