The island of Borneo boasts the most wicked wildlife! Because of the climate, the rainforest is home to the most types of species of life on Earth. From plants to insects to animals, it is lush in life. And, it's simply gorgeous.
So I went on a solo journey over Thanksgiving to explore and see what this wildlife was all about. Best travel week of the year. (Maybe because I was not working?)
I could write for days about the trip and all of the interesting things I saw. But I want to focus on the wildlife. This is the 1st in a 3-part series:
Pt 1 - Bako National Park
Pt 2 - Semnggoh Nature Reserve
Pt 3 - Gunung Mulu National Park
First, you’re probably wondering, where is Borneo? Well, Borneo is the largest island in Asia and the 3rd largest in the world. The island is split between 3 countries: Malaysian, Brunei and Indonesian. And it’s in the South China Sea:
At the landing, you learn of the crocs in the water. GULP.
Guess I won't be swimming in the water, just swimming in sweat. It is unfathomably hot and humid in the jungle.
Bako is known for being home to the endangered Proboscis monkeys, among many other wild things. It features 14 different hiking trails, and you can see different plants, animals, birds and insects depending on which trail you take.
And it's got this weird awesome vibe about it. Almost like Jurassic Park. Or the LOST island.
In addition to the day time hiking, they also offer a somewhat spooky, guided night hike, into the deep and dark jungle with flashlights to find nocturnal animals. Not many pics from the night hike. A little dark.
I was only on Bako National Park for ~24 hours and here's a list of the things I saw:
Proboscis Monkeys (Endangered)
Crab Eating Macaque (Monkeys)
Flying Lemur (Sadly did not get to see it fly. It was just hugging a tree.)
Mudskippers (Kinda like flying fish)
Shell Dwelling Hermit Crabs
Did I mention Mosquitoes?
All in all, the most exciting species were the endangered Proboscis Monkeys!
Proboscis Monkeys, aka Long-Nosed Monkeys are all over Bako. They look like humans with their pot bellies & long noses. My first sighting was my best. As I was heading to the hiking trails I stumbled upon 3 eating in a tree ~10 yards away, right out in the open.
They noticed me. I got so excited, like the feeling of approaching a girl for the first time. Heart racing, "Don't do anything stupid, just be cool." I took a couple snaps, and they were fine. Inched a bit closer. Fine. And then i did something stupid. I took out my GoPro and turned it on. BEEP BEEP BEEP. They ran away. So sad!
The funny thing is that, in my giddy, kid-like state, I tried to call out after them and ask them why they were running away.
"Hey, wait! Guys, don't go!"
As if they're going to just turn around and listen to reason.
I saw a few more during my stay on Bako but never out in the open like this. And then monsoon season kicked in and they were scarce. Coolest animals I've seen in the wild! Gotta go back to Bako. Here are some shots from them up in the trees.
Caveat --- I'm actually NOT a good photographer. I may have a decent eye, but I make a lot of mistakes that cost me amazing snaps. When you're in the jungle, sweating profusely, and the adrenaline is pumping from seeing wild animals, you don't have a ton of time or mental capacity to figure out the perfect F-stop and ISO settings. That's why these are blurry. And, that's why I have to go back to Bako!
The beach is filled with holes in the sand. If you're patient and you watch closely, you can see crabs running out of the holes every once in a while. They're tiny and have super cute eyes.
Pit vipers...you would not even notice them if someone didn't tell you they were there. They stay in the same position on the same tree for weeks sometimes. They sit and wait...and wait...and wait for prey to go by and then WHAM! Gotcha!
Speaking of snakes, there is a formation that juts out of the water in the park, that resembles a snake. They call this the sea stack...what do you think? Snake like?
And a spider from the night hike:
Here's a short video of what I assume is a Silver Lutung Monkey:
And, here is a weird video of what I assume are maybe mud skippers in low tide? And then, towards the end of the video, maybe a fish that is about to go aground?
Oh and lastly...a huge shout-out to the bearded pigs!
These guys are shamelessly snorting their way around the island. Stickin' their lil snout in everyone's business. But, it's cool. They're not shy and fantastically weird. One of them just wandered on to the beach at sunset, searchin' for sea worms.
Next up, Part 2: Semenggoh Nature Reserve, wild orangutans!
And, if you are curious about bats...just you wait for Part 3: Mulu National Park. Stay tuned for some mind-blowing battiness...