Sepilok Day 2 – Sun Bears and Orang Utans

Sepilok, Sabah, 9 May 2019.

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Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Island Palm Civet, Landscape, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Plantain Squirrel, Sabah, Sun Bear, Tarsier, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Unidentified butterfly.

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Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Island Palm Civet, Landscape, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Plantain Squirrel, Sabah, Sun Bear, Tarsier, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

In the morning we visited the Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre.  Each one has a unique chest patch.

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Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Island Palm Civet, Landscape, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Plantain Squirrel, Sabah, Sun Bear, Tarsier, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

The sun bear is the world’s smallest bear, averaging one metre in length and is endemic to Borneo.

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Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Island Palm Civet, Landscape, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Plantain Squirrel, Sabah, Sun Bear, Tarsier, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

They are primarily nocturnal, feeding on insects, though they also have a taste for honey.

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Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Island Palm Civet, Landscape, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Plantain Squirrel, Sabah, Sun Bear, Tarsier, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Obviously here, they are not in the wild and are feeding on carrots.

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Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Island Palm Civet, Landscape, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Plantain Squirrel, Sabah, Sun Bear, Tarsier, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

They are listed as vulnerable and their population is declining due to habitat loss.

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Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Island Palm Civet, Landscape, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Plantain Squirrel, Sabah, Sun Bear, Tarsier, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Note the formidable claws, presumably for climbing trees.

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Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Island Palm Civet, Landscape, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Plantain Squirrel, Sabah, Sun Bear, Tarsier, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Unidentified bees and hive, on the trunk of a tree.

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Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Island Palm Civet, Landscape, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Plantain Squirrel, Sabah, Sun Bear, Tarsier, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Unidentified caterpillar.

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Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Island Palm Civet, Landscape, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Plantain Squirrel, Sabah, Sun Bear, Tarsier, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Island Palm Civet, Landscape, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Plantain Squirrel, Sabah, Sun Bear, Tarsier, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

In the afternoon we visited the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre.

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Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Island Palm Civet, Landscape, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Plantain Squirrel, Sabah, Sun Bear, Tarsier, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Feet and hands are relatively interchangeable.

There are rescued orangutans here, including infants without parents.  Food and care is provided and the centre is open to adjacent rainforest including wild orangutans.

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Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Island Palm Civet, Landscape, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Plantain Squirrel, Sabah, Sun Bear, Tarsier, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Orangutans, including the Borneo species, are critically endangered due to habitat loss.  Population in Borneo has declined by about 15% since the middle 20th century and they may become extinct in the wild within ten to twenty years without effective conservation measures.

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Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Island Palm Civet, Landscape, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Plantain Squirrel, Sabah, Sun Bear, Tarsier, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

This and the preceding three images were taken through glass in an observation building.

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Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Island Palm Civet, Landscape, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Plantain Squirrel, Sabah, Sun Bear, Tarsier, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

We are now out of the building and in the rainforest.

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Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Island Palm Civet, Landscape, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Plantain Squirrel, Sabah, Sun Bear, Tarsier, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

There are also some feeding sites out in the open.

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Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Island Palm Civet, Landscape, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Plantain Squirrel, Sabah, Sun Bear, Tarsier, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

You have to stay back from the orangutans though.  While they are not usually aggressive, they are eight times stronger than a human.

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Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Island Palm Civet, Landscape, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Plantain Squirrel, Sabah, Sun Bear, Tarsier, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Orangutans make a nest in a tree each night.  Here some were doing just that.

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Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Island Palm Civet, Landscape, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Plantain Squirrel, Sabah, Sun Bear, Tarsier, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

You can only take one camera and lens in the see the orangutans and no bags of any kind.  Otherwise, an orangutan might take a fancy to your camera bag (and you’d be well advised not to argue).  I had a 300mm lens (for a full frame body) and a 1.4x teleconverter.  This was too long to be convenient inside the building but came in handy for these last images.

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Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Island Palm Civet, Landscape, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Plantain Squirrel, Sabah, Sun Bear, Tarsier, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife
There was also a plantain squirrel checking out the culinary options on display.

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Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Island Palm Civet, Landscape, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Plantain Squirrel, Sabah, Sun Bear, Tarsier, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife
Black fur but pinkish underneath.

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Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Island Palm Civet, Landscape, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Plantain Squirrel, Sabah, Sun Bear, Tarsier, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife
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Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Island Palm Civet, Landscape, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Plantain Squirrel, Sabah, Sun Bear, Tarsier, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife
Much later we went for a night walk.  This is an Island Palm Civet by torchlight.

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Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Island Palm Civet, Landscape, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Plantain Squirrel, Sabah, Sun Bear, Tarsier, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife
Rufous-backed kingfisher.

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Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Island Palm Civet, Landscape, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Plantain Squirrel, Sabah, Sun Bear, Tarsier, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Strange unidentified insect.

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Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Island Palm Civet, Landscape, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Plantain Squirrel, Sabah, Sun Bear, Tarsier, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife
Slow Loris (such as you can see – pushing the boundaries to get that much).

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Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Island Palm Civet, Landscape, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Plantain Squirrel, Sabah, Sun Bear, Tarsier, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife
Black and Crimson Pitta, sleeping in a tree.

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Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Island Palm Civet, Landscape, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Plantain Squirrel, Sabah, Sun Bear, Tarsier, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

A Western Tarsier.

We were very fortunate to encounter a Tarsier, which are rare, nocturnal and hard to find.  It is an ancient primate, little changed for 45 million years.  (Primates include monkeys, lemurs and apes, which in turn include us).  There are several species and all are classified as vulnerable to extinction.  It is tiny, 70-150cm in length and 1 kilogram in weight and each of its giant eyes are as large as its brain.  It is the only carnivorous primate, eating mainly insects but also birds, lizards and bats.  It can take great leaps from one tree to the next, to a distance of around thirty times its body length.  It can also rotate its head 180 degrees.

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3 comments on “Sepilok Day 2 – Sun Bears and Orang Utans

  1. Kerry Scarlett says:

    Awesome Murray. You have an amazing life.

    K1

    Like

  2. Robert Hayes says:

    Though the travel is probably exhausting, your collection of images is Nothing short of magnificent!

    Like

  3. […] Sepilok Day 2 – Sun Bears and Orang Utans […]

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