Sunday, March 31, 2013

Semenggoh - Sanctuary for the great apes


AS naturally as the creeping vines coiled round the branches, the sure hands and feet of an agile ape grapped the rope dangling across a cluster of trees.

The primate swung effortlessly to a feeding platform, landing softly on outstretched planks to pick up some fruits, then doubled back up the rope with both arms and one foot while taking a bite of the fruits held by the free foot.

The shy ape knew it was being watched but acted in such a way that suggested it wanted the on-lookers to understand how it lives in its natural habitat.

It was chow time at the feeding station of the Semenggoh Wildlife Sanctuary, home of the Borneoan orang utan (pongo pygmaeus), a species of distinct red coloured apes found only in this part of the world.

Situated slightly over one km inside the Semenggoh Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, the Sanctuary offers first-time visitors a very close encounter with these great apes during feeding time.

The orang utans are one of the most distinct primates roaming the jungles of Borneo. Their exact population in the wild is not known other than that the species is listed as endangered.

thesundaypost learned that the threats facing the orange utans include poaching, habitat destruction and trading in exotic pets.

According to a staff of the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) which manages the Semenggoh Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, the survival of the primates is very important to the ecology of the area and people should be more concerned that these apes may be in a critical stage of their existence.

The Semenggoh Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the conservation centres where orang utans can live in their natural habitat and where people can also be educated on the primates and the threats they face.

There are now 27 orang utans born in captivity and have made the Sanctuary home.

A latest addition is a baby orang utan called Jubilee — meaning celebration.

It was given the name in conjunction with the Sarawak Golden Jubilee Celebration this year. Its birth also coincided with SFC’s 10th anniversary.

The few weeks old baby orang utan is the fourth successful delivery by 25-year-old Minah which was brought to the Sanctuary from Lubok Antu, Sri Aman, in 1993.

The SFC staff said orang utan offspring were dependent on their mothers until they were at least five years old, adding that adult males would have no contact with the infants.

Even though food is provided at the Sanctuary everyday, the orang utans learn to be independent by roaming the 1,613-acre nature reserve and learning to survive on their own.

“During the fruiting season, the apes are hardly seen — which is a good sign as it means they have the natural instinct to know there is plenty of food in the wild — not just at the feeding station,” the SFC staff explained.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Semenggoh - Sanctuary for the great apes
.
.

Labels: , ,

Protected Sarawak wildlife on the menu


“In my father’s generation, when they saw a wild animal, they saw food. In my generation, we see some wild animals as food, others not. I hope (through education) when it comes to my son’s generation, they all see wild animals as animals, no more as food.”
– Oswald Braken Tisen, SFC senior manager (Protected Areas & Biodiversity Conservation Division)

UNDER the law, protected wildlife should be not be kept, sold or consumed.

Yet, there is no lack of restaurants offering ‘exotic’ wildlife dishes – and one need not drive very far to get a taste of these ‘forbidden’ foods.

Many eateries in and around the state capital are serving ‘wildlife specials’ prepared from the meat of river terrapins, wild boars, frogs and flying foxes.

In upcountry towns like Bau and Lundu, these gastronomic taboos can also be found except that they do not appear on the menu.

As it’s against the law to sell or eat protected wildlife, their meat is usually available after office hours (when wildlife protection officers are not on duty). Furthermore most restaurants offer such dishes only to their ‘best’ customers.

Apart from restaurant owners, rural folks in different parts of the state are also playing hide-and-seek with enforcement personnel from the Forestry Department Sarawak (FDS) and Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) when selling wildlife meat, especially at native markets (tamu).

The ‘hot spots’ are more prevalent along the border such as in Serian and Serikin. Other such areas include riverine towns such as Kapit, Song and Selangau which are nearer the (wildlife) source, according SFC operation manager (Security and Assets Protection Divisions) Mohamad Jirin Anis.

As of March 21, SFC, acting on public tip-offs, have made surprise checks on 25 premises, five of which were found to be displaying wild boar, python and labi-labi meat for sale.

Jirin said on the same date, five cases, involving the sale of wild life meat, were detected – plus another four where derivative parts such as spines or quills of porcupines were put up for sale.

Jirin said one of the difficulties encountered in eradicating the illegal trade was that by the time the enforcement officers reached the selling premises, the culprits would just disappear “into the thin air.”

Not one would own up as to who were responsible for the wildlife remains left behind.

This cat-and-mouse game has been going on since the Sarawak Wild Life Protection Ordinance 1998 was implemented to reinforce the Wild Life Protection Ordinance 1990.

Not even genuine

The problem is not confined only to wildlife meat. Protected species like eagles, mynas and parakeets are also being sold – at RM250 each – before bargaining at Serikin and a plastic bag of nine turtle eggs costs RM10.

There are also demands for certain “exotic” wildlife parts or derivatives such as the phallus. For example, a crocodile penis can be bought for RM250.

However, SFC senior manager (Protected Areas & Biodiversity Conservation Division) Oswald Braken Tisen, questioned the genuineness of most of such derivatives which people believe can give their libido an extra boost.

He related a recent case where the public tipped off SFC on a drug stall selling “bear gall bladders.”

The products were confiscated and found to be fakes after testing.

“There are penile parts of wild animals sold for RM30,000. In most cases, they are not genuine,” Braken pointed out.

He found it quite puzzling that there were people willing to pay so much for some “exotic food” which has not been proven scientifically to be effective in enhancing health.

Since these so-called “exotic” wildlife parts might be phony, what’s even worse is that the substance used to fake their authenticity is usually not known and could be detrimental to health.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Protected Sarawak wildlife on the menu
.
.

Labels:

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Michelle Yeoh at Talang Talang Island: Protect environment and preserve nature


SEMATAN: One of Asia’s biggest stars, Datuk Seri Michelle Yeoh, has called on the people to protect the environment and preserve nature.

Yeoh is here to attend the three-day Asean International Film Festival and Awards 2013 (Aiffa 2013) which started on Thursday.

In her effort to support Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) during her inaugural visit to the Talang Talang Island yesterday, she joined the Turtle Adoption Programme and adopted thirteen hatcheries, of which part of them was on behalf of her family members.

Yeoh gave them delightful names including Love, Prosperity, Longevity, and Peace.

She later?told a press conference after a briefing by SFC on turtle conservation work on the island,?that it was important to enhance conservation awareness through education.

“I commend SFC for their hard work in protecting the turtles and pressing for minimal tourism activities on the protected island, else sea creatures like the turtles will be threatened with extinction,” Yeoh said.

“Conservation and protection of the world’s nature are shared responsibility of global citizens. Conservation and protection should be part of our lifestyle,” she emphasised.

“Also, we need to educate our people to start practising green living from home and teach young children to respect and appreciate nature which in turn will promote conservation,” she added.

Of most importance, she discouraged people from disposing plastic litter irresponsibly, as they have not only become the biggest pollution problem but also the main item that caused the death of sea creatures like turtles.

SFC deputy general manager (Protected Areas and Biodiversity Conservation Division) Oswald Braken Tisen in his brief presentation earlier on, had warned that “turtles could accidentally ingest plastic bags mistaking them for jellyfish and the bags will block their stomachs, often leading to their death from starvation.”

Yeoh also revealed that another purpose of her visit besides attending the Aiffa was to promote the award winning documentary film ‘Pad Yatra: A Green Odyssey’ of which she is the executive producer.

She also said she was willing to be the spokesperson for the turtle conservation and research project run by SFC at the Talang Talang Island.

Later, Yeoh and entourage released 17 baby green turtles into the sea.

“I hope the turtles will come back to their Talang Talang home in the future to reproduce,” she said adding that she would love to come back for a longer holiday in Sarawak when time permits.

.
.

Labels: , ,

More than RM100,000 needed for turtle conservation at Talang Talang Island


LUNDU: Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) needs more than RM100, 000 a year to manage the conservation of turtles on Pulau Talang Talang Besar.

This was revealed by SFC’s deputy general manager (Protected Areas and Biodiversity Conservation Division) Oswald Braken Tisen when met on the island during the inaugural visit by one of Asia’s biggest film stars Datuk Seri Michelle Yeoh yesterday.

“The expenditure is hardly enough and we hope that other sources of fund can assist us in our conservation effort to ensure that the turtles which lay eggs here can be better managed,” he lamented.

He pointed out that Yeoh and her family members’ effort in joining the ‘Turtle Adoption Programme’?was an exemplary example of how every one can help?SFC in a small way as such contributions can allow continuous conservation and protection of turtles.

Braken pointed out that human were the biggest obstacle to their conservation effort especially for the island.

There should be more awareness and educational programmes to let people know how they can help to save this marine life which is now totally protected.

He said in the 1950’s, records showed that turtles produced 3,000,000 eggs a year on the island but now, their record showed there?were only about 300,000 eggs. Due to the drop by almost 90 per cent, all unique species of turtles coming to the island had been listed as totally protected.

Braken in his brief presentation earlier on, warned that turtles could accidentally ingest plastic bags mistaking them for jellyfish and the bags could block their stomachs, often leading to their death from starvation.

“More than 100 turtles die in a year due to infringement of fishing trawlers into the protected island prior to 1998. But now with reef balls being placed, there are about 10 reported deaths a year,” he said.

.
.

Labels: ,

Friday, March 29, 2013

Kota Padawan Kuching Bike Ride Soon To Be Tourist Attraction


We always hear Kuching city as a tourist attraction which is very common these days. It is true that Kuching city has a lot to offer and great places to visit such as the Water Front, Main Bazaar, Golden Triangle, and lots more. This year, it is not just the city itself. Kota Padawan will soon become another great tourist attraction in the near future.

The event was held on Saturday, 23rd March 2013, Kuching Bike Ride at Kota Padawan. Its objective was to promote and introduce the Padawan area as well as the Borneo Peak. Just like last year, the Kuching Bike Ride which held at Muzium Sarawak on the 27th May 2012, to promote Pakej Percutian 1 Malaysia (CC1M). A total number of 700 participants’ joined the event last year.

As for this year, the Bike Ride event at Kota Padawan has a total of 200 participants. Kuching Cop Cycling Club (KCCC) and members of the public joined in the event.

It was officiated by YB Dato Sri Dr.James Dawos Mamit and as early as 8.30 cyclists started cycling a.m from Kota Padawan Pitcher plant landmark and ended at Kampung Beratan which was 8 km ride away from Kota Padawan town.

The popularity of the bike ride itself is actually one of the latest trends in the tourism industry especially in Malaysia.

Kota Padawan is only a small town and unlike Kuching City it has its own uniqueness that can attract local and international tourists. Among the things tourists will get to explore in this area will is the Semenggoh Nature Reserve, authentic Long House Homestay such as Annah Rais, Benuk, Kampung Darul Islam Belimbing Homestay as well as Rafflesia Homestay located in Kampung Temurang. Other than that, for those who loves kayaking, then Kampung Danu and Padawan will be the right place for them.

During the speech presentation made by YB Dato Sri Dr. James Dawos Mamit, Deputy Ministry of Malaysian Tourism, he commented that the reason why they chose Kota Padawan area, was not only to promote Kota Padawan itself, but, it was also meant to promote a healthier life style for Kuching citizen. He even added that cycling in the city area, it is not only dangerous but due to the exposed car fumes, the smell of road tar, and so forth can deteriorate our health in future.

.
.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sarawak eyes historical notes from British Museum


KUCHING: The state government is trying to get back documents containing historical facts on the trial of Rosli Dhobi from the British Museum.

Minister of Sarawak Tourism Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg admitted yesterday that it was a herculean task but “we will try out best”.

“To retrieve historical documents from their (British Museum) archives is not easy but we will try to collaborate with them,” he told reporters after witnessing the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between I-Systems College Kuching and Hilton Kuching here yesterday.

“If at the end we can’t get the original copies at least we should get hold of certified copies endorsed by them.”

Abang Johari added that these historical documents were meant for the proposed Brooke Gallery at the historical Fort Margherita, which is currently being renovated.

He said the state government had been communicating with Jason Brooke, grandson of Anthony Brooke, and he had agreed to loan important personal documents and belongings of the Brooke family for the proposed gallery.

On the renovation of Fort Margherita, Abang Johari said the work cost a few million ringgit and was scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.

“When it is completed it will serve as an additional attraction to our visitors. Fort Margherita is more towards the Brooke family era and so we will exhibit the Brooke’s personal and historical documents and belongings from that era.

.
.

Labels: ,

Miri Marriott Resort and Spa offers outdoor wedding package


MIRI: Miri Marriott Resort and Spa is offering couples stylish outdoor weddings with its ‘Celebrate for Love’ package priced at RM3,999.

Those who pay a non-refundable deposit before April 30 will enjoy a complimentary room upgrade to Ocean Suite room, 50 door gifts, permission for wedding photography around the resort and Balinese Massage for two at Mandara Spa.

The promotion includes finger food and non-alcoholic beverages for 50 and other wedding essentials.

Sales and Marketing director Pamela Ong said there are Marriott certified wedding planners to arrange every detail.

“You also get to choose from a few outdoor locations at the resort to pair with any of our delicious menus either for your weddings, blessings, as well as renewal of vow ceremonies,” she explained.

“Most of our chefs here have worked and cross-trained at other Marriott properties or hotels around the globe. With that, we are able to create menus which are close to heart of the different ethnic background of couples holding their events at our resort,” said executive chef Cesar Liesa, who is from Spain.

.
.

Labels: ,

Sarawak now an ideal place for film production


KUCHING: With all the infrastructures already in place, Sarawak is now a place for film production, enthused Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said it had made the state suitable for shooting of films of all genres – whether romance, action, crime or whatever.

“The state has great potential for film production. So far, one movie called ‘Farewell to the King’ had been produced in Sarawak. At that time our infrastructure was not in place yet but today the infrastructure is there already for us to produce films,” he said.

He said with the infrastructure now already in place it will not be a surprise if film makers who will converge here this weekend will pick Sarawak as their venue for the shooting of their films.

“This weekend, many famous Hollywood, Bollywood as well as Asian film stars will converge on the city to see for themselves what the state can offer.

“Also coming along with them will be the film producers and directors who want to expose us to the cinematic discipline and hopefully they will choose Sarawak as their film shooting location,” he said.

Abang Johari, who is also Housing Minister, disclosed this during the signing ceremony of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between I-Systems College Kuching (ISK) and Hilton Kuching here yesterday.

.
.

Labels:

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My Life in Words: Borneo - Part 2 (The Climb)


In my last post I said that I didn't know where the idea to come to Borneo came from.  While that's true, it was the prospect of climbing Mt Kinabalu which motivated me to act on the idea. Although I've never done anything like this before, the idea of doing something out of the ordinary while on holiday was appealing to me.

At 4095m, Mt Kinabalu is the highest peak in South East Asia and falls in the top 20 in the world.  Similar to Kilimanjaro, it is one of the few top 20 mountains that don't require mountaineering experience to summit (which is good, because I have none!).  Going into the climb, I was told the biggest obstacle would be the altitude, due to the fact that you ascend quite quickly.

The route to the top is direct and steep and takes just 2 days.

The route to the top is just 8.7km long, which at first glance doesn't seem like much.  However when you factor in the fact that the peak is 4.1km high, you can see that the gradient is quite extreme.  While you don't start right at sea level, the average grade is still 25-50% for the entire 8.7k.

The general pattern followed by most climbers is 6km on day one, followed by a very early start on day 2 to finish the final (steep) 2.7k before sun rise.  It's then a slow and tedious decent all the way down to finish in the afternoon.  This is the approach we took.

There was 10 people on my tour climbing plus two mountain guides, Mr Sopingey and his son Billy.  Mr. Sopingey is quite a remarkable man. At 55 years old, he is the most experienced guide on the mountain, having climbed it more than 1000 times.  His first ascent was when he was 10, as a porter, which he did until he became a guide at 18. Since then he makes the trek twice a week, every week. While I didn't need assistance, a few people in my group struggled with certain aspects (bad knees on the descent, altitude sickness, etc) and he was the most patient friendly guide they could have asked for.  Despite being just 5'3" and 130lbs (at best), he would gladly carry the heavy backpack of a sick person up the entire mountain (in addition to his own) if so required.

Day 1 started at 9am, and the path is steep right from the get go.  The first few kilometers went by fairly painlessly, as we all had fresh legs and were super eager.  The biggest inconvenience was our backpacks.  Because of the extreme altitude change, you need a wide variety of clothing, plus lots of water.  Close to sea level the weather was quite humid and wearing just shorts and a tshirt resulted in excessive sweating.  However on the early morning climb to the summit, the temp drops to below zero, plus windchill.  Which means that on day 1, all of us were carrying packs full of warm clothes. Add 3-4liters of water and the bags got quite heavy.

We couldn't complain too much though, as numerous times though out the day we were passed by porters.  All the food and supplies at the rest house (at the 6k mark) have to be carried up.  So, attached to a board which is attached to their backs and heads, these porters lug all the supplies up 6k.  Apparently they get $100 ringget ($30) for the first 10kg and then 10 ringget for each 10kg above that.  On the way down, they carry garbage, which they also get paid for.  Regardless of how much stuff they were carrying and whether they were a 5'2" guy or a young girl smaller than myself, they always moved faster then everyone else walking up.  I think that is pretty decent money in this area, so I can see why lots of people do it.

The first 6k was a mix of stairs and rock steps.  Things started to get more challenging as we hit 4k, as the steps started to become quite big (higher than my knee in some cases).  Each kilometer or so, there is a hut to stop at with basic amenities so we stopped quite frequently to help pace ourselves. I was feeling quite good, so I split off from the group (which had already split into two) and did the last 2k on my own.  I had to force myself to slow down, as I wasn't sure how the altitude would effect me and I didn't want to make myself sick.

At 6k (3,200m) there is a rest house where everyone stops for the 'night'. They served a big dinner at 4:30pm and then we all went to bed around 6:30pm in preparation of the next day's climb. 'Breakfast' is served at 2am and most people leave around 2:30am to make sure they summit in time for the sunrise at 6:00am.

My group split into two, with us in the faster group leaving later. While there were some stairs to start, about 500m in, we hit a rope section, where we needed to pull ourselves up with rope and scramble up rocks. This was quite challenging at altitude, in the dark, on very little sleep, but I enjoyed it.  After the rope section, we came to a rock face which just went up on an incline for what seemed like ages.

There was a rope there for support in the steeper sections.  I found this the toughest part of the whole trip.  We were completely exposed on the rock face, so it got windy and really cold, so you couldn't really stop.  The altitude started kicking in as well and it was noticeably harder to breathe.  The trick was to just go slow and steady - to keep moving but not too fast.

Continue reading at: My Life in Words: Borneo - Part 2 (The Climb)

Also Read: My Life in Words: Borneo - Part 1
.
.

Labels: ,

Borneo for Discoverers: Bunga Raya Island Resort and Spa, Gaya Island


Bunga Raya Island Resort and Spa bears its name from the hibiscus. As sensual and exotic as its bloom, this exotic jewel is located at a coral reef on the coast of Borneo.

It is a secluded island hideaway which features 48 villas, surrounded by white-sandy beaches and a tropical rainforest.

Numerous endemic species such as snakes, saurians, sea eagles and hornbills find their natural habitat here.

Above that, nature-lovers and discoverers find regeneration for body and soul in Bunga Raya Island Resort and Spa by booking the indulging Spa-Package.

It includes five overnight stays in a Superior Villa and costs RM 7.800 (approximately 1.895 Euro).

The offer includes boat transfers, breakfast, a wellness dinner for two persons in the “The Koi” Restaurant and a five-courses dinner for two persons in “Alu Alu” Restaurant as well as a bottle of wine.

After a discovery tour of the surrounding nature, you get a 30-minute reflexology, an one-hour bamboo-massage or an one-hour coffee/coconut massage and a 30-minute facial.

Furthermore a guided tour through the Marine Ecology Research Centre at Gayana Eco Resort is included in the price.

.
.

Labels: , ,

One more week to third Kota Kinabalu Food Festival


KOTA KINABALU: The third Kota Kinabalu Food Festival (KKFF) is just a week away with a month of events packed with more than 25 participating restaurants.

This year’s KKFF concept is slightly different from regular food exhibitions; instead of just a one-day event in a single venue, it is a full-scale celebration of food that will be held over 30 days across all of the event’s participating restaurants.

This annual event promises 30 days of great dining experiences, dozens of Kota Kinabalu’s best and most well-loved restaurants with exciting festival menus.

The two-day opening bazaar will be held to introduce all of the festival’s participating restaurants to the hungry crowds, offering a chance to showcase fine food or sell products in a very visible space on 6 and 7 April 2013 from 11.00am to 8.00pm at Suria Sabah.

Throughout the month of April, food lovers should look out for a special KKFF board which will be rotated at Suria Sabah, Citymall and the Terminal 2 Airport, displaying the QR Code of each participating restaurant and by scanning the QR Code, the public will the entitled to join the Scan and Win contest.

Exciting activities will also be held during the Opening Bazaar such as a children’s colouring contest and games including the Buy and Win where visitors who purchase anything above RM20 at any of the participating booths will have a chance to participate in the Yummy Pick and Win which offers attractive prizes.

The easiest way to keep informed on the upcoming festivities is to grab the official KK Food Fest Magazine, of which 10,000 copies have just been distributed. Free copies of the magazine can most easily be found at one of the participating restaurants, which are listed at the festival’s website at www.KKFoodFest.com.

The magazine serves as a guide and directory that offers information and contact details on all of the restaurants, as well as brief descriptions of their main offerings, specialties and bestsellers.

Readers will also find out about the Festival Menus which showcase the restaurants specialties through either one dish or a set menu. Trying out these menus is the key to joining the Stamp and Win Contest. A full page of the KK Food Fest Magazine serves as an entry form for this special contest, which offers some very attractive prizes.

Additionally, the Sabah Industry Food Expo (SIFE) will also be held at Suria Sabah on 20 to 21 April which will highlight bakeries and food manufacturing companies.

.
.

Labels:

More than 80 per cent of Sarawak’s land mass covered by forest


KUCHING: More than 80 per cent of Sarawak’s 12.4 million hectares (ha) of land mass are covered by forest, an evidence of the state’s high commitment to its forest management programme.

Second Minister of Resource Planning and Environment Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan on Sunday said the government would also continue to strengthen its efforts in sustainable forest management, biodiversity conservation and research.

The Sarawak Planted Forest, an agency entrusted with the state’s forest replanting initiative, has targeted to establish about one million hectare (ha) of planted forest by 2020. In addition, the state has also targeted to gazette about one million ha of forest as totally protected area in seven years’ time.

“The state has a land mass area of about 12.4 million ha, in which more than 80 per cent are covered by forest. This includes secondary forest.

“This is by far much higher when compared to European countries such as Holland, Denmark, Germany and United Kingdom among others, which only have less than 10 per cent forest area throughout each country.

“We should be proud of this fact despite the state receiving numerous criticisms and negative opinions from both local and foreign individuals and NGOs. I believe all these allegations were made to cover up their own weaknesses and shortcoming.

.
.

Labels:

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My Life in Words: Borneo - Part 1


I'm not sure where the idea to come to Borneo came from.  It just popped into my head one day in December and the decision was made.

Now, I'm aware that most people don't even know where Borneo is, so I'll provide a quick lesson.  Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java, Indonesia, right in the geographic center of south east Asia.  The island is divided among 3 countries; Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei (I'm in the Malaysian part).  It's claims to fame are orangutans, Mt Kinabalu, and the very first season of survivor (yes, I'm going to the "survivor" island while I'm here). It also is home to the world's oldest rainforest and it's reported that since just 1996 over 360 new animal and plant species have been discovered here (cool!!)

Although not far from Australia, it was a bloody effort to get here because there aren't exactly an abundance of flights (let alone a direct one from Sydney). So, it was a red eye to KL, a 4 hour layover at 3:30am and then a 2.5 hour flight to Kota Kinabalu.  Thankfully both flights were half empty so I was able to stretch right out and sleep, but it was still a long trip.

I'm on a tour while here, but I arrived 1 night early, so had some time to do some exploring on my own in Kota Kinabalu ("KK"). KK is a strange place. It has the feeling of any other Asian city, only without all the people.  It's a pretty quiet place - not much seems to be going on. At all.  The only tourists seem to be chinese; there are hardly any white folk around.  I think it might  just be that KK is just a jumping off point for bigger and better things, so no one hangs around.  Also, the 'small' war going on in the eastern part of the island (between the malaysians and some Filipino terrorists) probably isn't helping either.

I "splurged" and stayed in a nice hotel on the waterfront until meeting up with my tour ($100 per night - crazy money for KK standards). The view is gorgeous, but KK seems to be a fishing town, so everything smells kind of fishy. Not horrible, but not great either.  I kept myself busy quite easily though; since everything is so cheap it's easy to find activities to do.

The first day I had a 2 hour massage for 80myr ($25).  I have no complaints about the massage itself - for 25 bucks she did a great job sorting my back out. The weird thing though was that she kept belching throughout the massage.  Like 'beer drinking' loud belches.  Every time she was very apologetic, but it just killed the mood a bit.  She probably let 5 or 6 go in the two hours.

The second day I went out to an island just off the city to go to the beach.  The sand was nice and the water was lovely, but one again it was a bit weird. A bunch of Chinese tours showed up (probably 5 or 6 groups of 30 people) and proper banquets were set up on the beach - like covered chairs with bows as you may see at a tacky wedding.  Another mood killer.

My tour group is interesting. Everyone is really nice and are keen to do things and go for a drink and such, but there is one odd ball.  I don't even know how to describe him other than by saying that he isn't quite right in the head (which is ironic a bit because apparently he used to work as a cook at a mental health hospital).  He is british and extremely loud. He turned up in KK and apparently didn't even know what country he was in; he just knew he was Borneo.  It then turned out that he didn't bring any hiking gear to climb Mt Kinabalu (which we are doing later this week), and asked our guide if he could hike in his black shoes.

I'm willing to venture a guess that he also didn't bring any warm clothes and is going to end up freezing when we get to the summit at 6am, which is 4100m above see level (update to follow in next post). He also announced to his poor roommate first thing that he snores quite loudly.  Before this, he was in Nepal for 3 months, but didn't do any trekking, which is strange.  He did, however, meet a nepalese girl (his first ever girlfriend) who he plans on going back to marry.  He has been traveling for a year off some family inheritance, so something tells me that this impoverished Nepalese girl may be after something more than just his winning personality.  He may not be my cup of tea but he does keep things interesting.

Continue reading at: My Life in Words: Borneo - Part 1
.
.

Labels: , ,

Monday, March 25, 2013

Killing our cousins: The plight of the orangutan


A baby’s cries penetrate the air as the mob surges forward to continue its attack. The focus of attention is the baby’s mother, an adult orangutan, whose lifeless body the infant is desperately clutching.

Earlier, the mother orangutan had fought bravely to protect her infant while sustaining savage beatings with sticks and rocks, despite the tight ropes encircling her limbs. Finally, she was thrust head-down into a pool of water, to be wrenched out only after losing consciousness.

Now thrown into a makeshift pen, the mother slumps forward as her baby grasps her rust-coloured fur and cries out in panic.

Many local residents were incensed that the mother orangutan had entered the village to scavenge for fruit. But like increasing numbers of her fellow species, her ever-shrinking habitat had presented little other choice.

Shockingly this brutal event in Borneo, culminating in the courageous mother’s death, is not an isolated incident.

In the line of fire

Approximately 5,000 orangutans perish each year as a consequence of forest destruction, hunting, and the illegal pet trade. A mere decade could see one of our closest living relatives wiped off the face of the Earth.

In Indonesia and Malaysia, the expansion of the palm oil trade and prevalence of legal and illegal logging have eroded enormous forested areas, leaving orangutans residing within fragmented and shrinking pockets of vulnerable rainforest.

78% of forests inhabited by orangutans in Borneo are unprotected, with a large proportion made up of logging concessions or slated for conversion to palm oil and timber plantations. The insatiable economic interests of these industries and the livelihoods of wildlife such as the orangutan are intrinsically incompatible.

Escalating encroachment onto orangutan habitat is not only having a devastating impact on the species, but has seen an unprecedented level of violence perpetrated against individual orangutans.

The palm oil industry considers the endangered primates a hindrance to production, and some companies have employed ruthless measures to destroy them – even going to the extent of bankrolling their extermination.

Disturbingly, monetary incentives have been offered to bounty hunters to seek out and kill orangutans. Last year it was reported that a Malaysian company was paying their workers one million Indonesian rupiah ($100 AUD) per dead orangutan. Mass graves of orangutans have also been discovered on palm oil plantation sites.

Captured orangutans are often viciously attacked and tortured to death.

Uncontrolled burning is also regularly employed by palm oil companies to rapidly clear land, placing orangutans in the line of fire. Burning of forest has a comprehensively damaging effect on the species: it shrinks their habitat, destroys their food sources, and often kills them directly.

An encounter

Eleven years ago I travelled to Malaysian Borneo to visit the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary to indulge my fascination with primates.

The Sepilok centre aims to rehabilitate orphaned orangutans, and provides supplementary feeding to recently released orangutans within the forested reserve. At Labuk Bay, the quirky looking proboscis monkeys living in the vicinity are given supplementary provisions to strengthen their community in the face of dwindling wild food options.

In Borneo, the reality on the ground was confronting.

Peering out of the window during car trips on the island, I’d often perceive a sudden change in landscape. The view would come to be dominated by derelict tracts of land; what our guide explained were palm oil concessions.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Killing our cousins: The plight of the orangutan
.
.

Labels: , , , ,

Semporna tourism, investments dip 70 per cent


KOTA KINABALU: Semporna is losing more than 70 per cent in tourism and business investments due to the Lahad Datu incursion.

Sabah United Chinese Chambers of Commerce (SUCCC) president Datuk Seri Panglima Gan Sau Wah said many foreign and domestic tourists had canceled their reservations on hotel rooms and banquets in Semporna since the incursion.

He said the reports on Lahad Datu and Semporna incidents by the foreign media such as from the United States, Canada and China had impacted greatly, while the embassies of United States, Australia, Hong Kong and Taiwan have advised their citizens against coming to Sabah.

“Under these circumstances, tourists feel threatened,” Gan said when asked by the media after officiating at the opening ceremony of the Federations of Sabah and Labuan Federal Territory Hokkien Association annual general meeting (AGM) here yesterday.

Gan lamented that businessmen who initially wanted to invest, develop and acquire lands in Lahad Datu and Semporna have also changed their minds.

“The prices of buildings and shop lots have also dropped,” he added, saying that all sectors were affected by the intrusion of the Sulu terrorists.

He stressed that the losses were not just limited to the cancellation of hotel and restaurant reservations, but also the loss of investment and cancellation of shop lot purchases.

“The losses in tourism and economy have not only declined by 50 per cent, as reported by Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen, but at least 70 per cent and above in all tourism and business investments,” he said.

Gan said although the situation was under control now, the people still harboured apprehension and caution.

While he believed that our security could be improved with the setting up of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) along the coastline and security facilities, people still have fear.

“This is because of the hundreds of thousands of Filipinos living in Sabah, including those with identification cards and those without, he said.

“We are still afraid because Sabah has no experience like war or exchange of fire. Sabah had always been a haven, we have not had these experiences before.

Continue reading at: Semporna tourism, investments dip 70 per cent
.
.

Labels: ,

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Exploring Bukit Lima Forest Park in Sibu


WHAT is so special about Bukit Lima Forest Park in Sibu? Well, it’s a cool place to jog, mornings or evenings.

Two plank walk trails totalling 6km run mostly through a shady forest, with some open more exposed areas.

For those who like to observe, it is a place to experience nature’s wonders, be it the birdlife (bright red scarlet-rumped trogons in the undergrowth just a stone’s throw away), the jungle fruits that one can spot on the plank walk or the huge variety of trees – trunks of all shapes, sizes, colours and textures and foliage fi lling most available spaces.

But there is something else special about Bukit Lima Forest Park.

Maybe most of us who enjoy a walk or jog along the plank walks do not realise that this patch of forest, albeit disturbed, is a recognisable remnant of the vast peat swamp forest that once covered the coastal fl at plain stretching about 500km from the mouth of Batang Lupar to Kidurong Point and covering approximately 12 per cent of the state’s total landmass.

The forest at Bukit Lima Forest Park likely represents two different peat swamp forest communities known as mixed swamp forest and alan forest.

The ramin telur (or lunak), meranti paya, meranti buaya, meranti lop and meranti lilin that we found on a recent two-day identifi cation exercise of the trees along the plank walk at Bukit Lima are typical species of the mixed swamp forest, which occurs at the perimeters of swamps.

However, at one point along the plank walk we also saw a number of stumps of alan trees.

Alan is a dipterocarp species that gives its name to a particular peat swamp forest community where it occurs abundantly and gregariously (many specimens growing closely together).

Alan is easily recognised by its large size, high buttresses still visible on stumps left after logging many years ago, and hollow boles.

A number of semayur trees, elegant with slender stem and drooping branches, were spotted in the transitional zone between the mixed swamp and alan forests.

Altogether, during our investigations in the forest park we ‘logged’ more than 50 species of forest trees, most of them typical of peat swamp.

Although the area has been logged, as the hollow stumps of the alan trees remind us, and some areas have probably been burnt, leaving large areas of scrub and fern, we did see saplings of some forest species, indicating some regeneration is occurring.

So next time – especially you fortunate Sibu folk – you fancy a walk, go check out Bukit Lima Forest Park.

Hopefully, you will be able to spot specimens of trees that helped to make Sarawak great, including the timber species ramin and alan, which were of great economic importance to Sarawak from the 1950s till the 1990s.

You would be hard put to fi nd another patch of peat swamp forest so accessible to city folk.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Exploring Bukit Lima Forest Park in Sibu
.
.

Labels:

Cycling tourism to be a reality in Sarawak


KUCHING: Tourists who wish to cycle to experience the beautiful sceneries of Sarawak might find it easy to bring their bicycles to the state following the discussion between Ministry of Tourism Malaysia with Malaysian Airlines (MAS) and AirAsia.

Deputy Sarawak Tourism Minister Dato Sri Dr James Dawos Mamit yesterday said the two local airlines would provide the facility for tourists to check-in their bicycles.

“With such a facility, more tourists will want to ride in Sarawak to have a different experience. For instance, if tourists ride along Jalan Puncak Borneo, they can see a lot of interesting places along the way.

“It will definitely help to boost bicycle tourism not only in Sarawak but the whole country,” he told reporters after officiating at the Bike & Ride Padawan 2013 programme at Kampung Bratan at Jalan Puncak Borneo here.

On Malindo Air, Dawos believed the introduction of the new airline would further improve air connectivity in Sarawak in particular and East Malaysia as a whole.

“Of course, it is good because we need to have more airlines. It will bring positive impact to the tourism industry here.”

Malindo Air started its inaugural flights to Kota Kinabalu and Kuching last Friday and yesterday.

In his speech, Dawos pointed out that cycling tourism, which is getting popular, could contribute greatly to the country’s tourism industry if it was given adequate attention.

He, therefore, urged travel agents in the state to be creative and introduce different packages on cycling trips to accommodate the different needs of tourists.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Cycling tourism to be a reality in Sarawak
.
.

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Malindo Air makes KK transit hub for Indonesian tourists


KOTA KINABALU: Malindo Air is making Kota Kinabalu as a transit hub for tourists from Manado and Makassar, Indonesia to fly to China, Korea, Japan and Hong Kong.

Its chief executive officer (CEO), Chandran Rama Muthy, said Malindo Air as the sister company of Lion Air Indonesia, will have the ability to bring passengers from Makassar and Manado in transit using Kota Kinabalu as a hub.

“That’s our plan, and today is just the beginning. We are here and committed with this two-year plan, including introducing Johor to Kota Kinabalu flight by year end.

“Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu is just starting. After Johor to Kota Kinabalu flights, we will have our sister company operating Makassar and Manado flights to this city,” he said.

Chandran said the inaugural flight of Malindo Air from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu landed at Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) Terminal 1 yesterday.

To date, there are three flights available daily from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu and vice versa.

He said there will be at least eight daily flights from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu and two daily flights from Johor to Kota Kinabalu by the end of the year.

.
.

Labels: ,

Malaysia Airlines Continues Special Offers Till March 31


Malaysia Airlines (MAS) announced today that its promotional deals for domestic and international travel that were on offer from March 11, 2013 and coincided with the recent Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) fair from March 15-17, are still available until March 31, 2013.

Malaysia Airlines Regional Senior Vice President Malaysia and Asean region, Muzammil Muhammad, said compared with the previous MATTA Fair, MAS' take-up for this year had been very encouraging.

"The response exceeded our expectations and we are also delighted that our customers have taken the opportunity to purchase the oneworld special fares.

"These offers are still available till March 31, 2013, and we encourage consumers to take time during the forthcoming school holidays to plan with their children for their next vacations till Nov 30, 2013 using our irresistible offers," he said in a statement Saturday.

On the domestic front, MAS said the consumers continued to snap up offers in great numbers for travel from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu, Tawau and Sandakan, totalling to almost 36 per cent of those who had purchased the national carrier's special fares during the promotions.

It also reflected the consumers' confidence in the government's on-going 'Ops Daulat' to restore normalcy in the east Sabah region around Lahad Datu, it said.

The all-in economy class fares for these routes as well as for the routes between Kuala Lumpur and other destinations in Sabah and Sarawak, namely, Kuching, Miri, Sibu, Labuan and Bintulu are on offer at RM150 one-way and RM300 for return.

Similar fares are also available for travel from Sabah and Sarawak to Kuala Lumpur.

On its international network, MAS said the A380 routes are popular among travellers, with London continuing to be the most sought-after long haul destination with more than nine per cent of the purchasers, while regionally, Hong Kong is the favoured destination with more than 13 per cent of the customers.

.
.

Labels:

Friday, March 22, 2013

Thinking About Borneo


The weather is bad. Really, really, bad. And sometimes in this deep dark damp Exmoor valley you get to thinking about other places when the skies are black and the rain is coming down in sheets.

Today, I have been mainly thinking about Borneo. And I’ve been recalling this trip I took out there a while ago.

When I was a boy there was sometimes talk of an elusive and frightening person known as The Wild Man of Borneo. Now I’ve been to Borneo and can report he has vanished like jungle mist – in his place are friendly and charming people.

They weren’t always friendly or charming. The Iban used to be head-hunters – indeed they’d murder one another and shrink the resultant heads without even the slightest excuse.

If they were the original wild men of Borneo, then they’ve changed. I’ve met them and even stayed with them in a tribal longhouse high in a remote rain-forested corner of Sarawak, which is a Malaysian province in Borneo – and, as I say, a more affable bunch you could hardly wish to meet.

Visiting the Iban was the highlight of a journey that took me to Sarawak as part of a trip designed by the Malaysian government to show how eco-tourism in this most far-flung of regions is now a relatively easy for Westerners, and how it benefits local people who only recently were living in very primitive conditions indeed.

They still are, from a European perspective – but when a tribal chief who lives deep in a jungle hours from the nearest road offers to give you his email address, you realise just how much things must have changed.

Not that there were any computers or mains electricity in this particular chief’s communal long-house – he later told me his son collects emails for him from college and brings them home at weekends.

But let’s begin at the beginning – which in Sarawak means Kuching, the capital with its international airport. It’s a bustling, sprawling city – not overly endowed with charm – but I liked it nevertheless.

Right at the heart of Kuching is an enclave of international hotels and from the window of my comfortable suite in the Grand Margherita I could look directly down upon the square that is the city’s equivalent of Piccadilly Circus.

From here we were able to explore the newly revamped riverside esplanade that took us half a mile along the wide curving waterway to the city’s fascinating, pulsating China-town, where you can buy everything and anything from weird jungle remedies to silks and “genuine fake” watches.

The thing about being on a government run press trip is that you have minders who operate under some mysterious itinerary – and while normally I wouldn’t mention this in a travel article I do so now because it was a journey of constant surprises.

No sooner had my journalist companion and I explored Kuching, we were being whisked off in a minibus deep into the rain-forested countryside. Why?

“We’re going to a rock festival,” beamed our excellent and thoroughly entertaining local guide, Henry.

“A rock festival!” I retorted with some wrath. “We have rock festivals at home – big ones – I haven’t come halfway around the globe to gawp at young men with big egos.”

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Thinking About Borneo
.
.

Labels: , , ,

2,000 hotel bookings cancelled in Sabah


Sandakan: About 2,000 rooms that were booked online with the various hotels here were cancelled following the Suluk terrorist intrusion in Lahad Datu and Semporna recently.

It is feared that the situation would lead to the closure of many businesses.

A newly-opened international-class hotel suffered a great loss when 600 guest rooms booked by foreign tourists over the next few months were cancelled.

Tourism industry player, Datuk John Lim Shau Ket, also revealed that renowned local hotels here incurred huge losses when about 90 arrangements were cancelled within one day on March 6.

"The misleading information disseminated (by foreign countries) contributed to this phenomenon," he said.

Foreign tourists, he said, were given travel advisory by their respective governments that the East Coast of Sabah had turned into a battlefield.

"But the hotspot is actually about 200km from here," he said.

He urged the Federal Tourism Ministry to negotiate with countries that imposed travel advisories through Malaysia's diplomats to lift the ban.

"They must explain to the foreign tourists the actual situation here.

Especially the hotspot in Felda Sahabat, which is well under control by our security forces," he said.

He said even the inbound tours here were badly affected with similar cancellations the past few weeks.

The former Sabah Tourism Board Director said a committee co-named as Sandakan Tourism Association (STA), of which he is protem chairman, has been set up to monitor the situation.

.
.

Labels: , , , ,

Invitation to take part in Padawan Bike and Ride


KUCHING: The Ministry of Tourism is inviting the people to join them on the Padawan Bike and Ride tomorrow (Mar 23).

Riders have the choice of two routes – the 14km Leisure Ride to begin at 9.30am or the 18km Extreme Ride at 8.30am.

The starting point is the Pitcher Plant and Wild Orchid Garden at Kota Padawan and the finishing point in the community hall at Kpg Bratan/Asah.

Deputy Minister of Sarawak Tourism Datuk Dr James Dawos told the press during a briefing at Padawan Munincipal Council (PMC) premises yesterday that more and more people were taking up cycling as a social activity for health and fitness as well as recreation.

“Cycling tourism is the latest approach to the development of tourism considering Sarawak’s striking and varied natural landscape and environment,” he said.

“Visitors appreciate authenticity and want a chance to be part of the real Sarawak and what better way to explore nature and other attractions than through biking,” he added.

“We hope that travel agencies and operators will identify and package this as a healthy holiday product and promote them to our visitors,” he said.

.
.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sabah safe, assures Sabah tourism minister


Kota Kinabalu: Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun assured the people that Sabah is safe and to prove his point he will be visiting Tawau and Semporna today (Thursday).

"To show how safe Sabah is, the Federal Tourism Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen and I will be going to Tawau and Semporna tomorrow to let you know everything is safe, so please stop listening to rumours and put your trust in our security forces personnel," he said.

"We want to demonstrate in no uncertain terms that the place is safe for tourists to visit and I am sure Ministers would not want to risk their lives if really there is danger in Semporna or even any place.

"The fact that we are going there is a confidence in us and that life has gone back to normal," he said, after witnessing a cheque presentation by the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) for RM46,880 to the Royal Malaysian Police Welfare Fund at his office, here, Wednesday.

The cheque was presented by Matta Sabah Chapter Chairman, KL Tan, to the State Police Contingent Administration Department Head, SAC Noor Azam Jamaludin.

Masidi again reminded the people not to listen to rumours because a lot of the problems are caused by rumours which influence their work, citing panic buying of rice and food essentials recently.

"The worst thing that can happen is when people start believing in rumours which could perhaps be part of the intruders' strategy to make us fearful and then nobody would want to do their job," he said, adding that if that happens, then it's just a matter of time before the whole system, economy and political system collapse.

.
.

Labels: , ,

Tun Mustapha Park gazette delay a ‘great loss’


KOTA KINABALU: Ten years ago, Dr Elizabeth Wood conducted surveys at Pulau Banggi, off Kudat and reported that the area was thriving with fish.

Yesterday, participants of the Tun Mustapha Park (TMP) Mini Symposium at the 1Borneo Grand Ballroom near here yesterday were told a different story.

Coral reef researcher Dr Maria Beger said in her presentation entitled ‘the Health of Reefs and Fish Biodiversity of the Proposed Tun Mustapha Marine Park’ that her group had researched several sites around Pulau Banggi and found that the diversity of fish there was alarmingly low.

Inspections conducted by Beger’s group on other dive sites found between 200 and 250 species per dive in Palawan Island while at Pulau Banggi, the highest number was only 134 species per dive.

“There wasn’t much there…there was hardly any sharks, garoupa or butterfly fishes,” she said.

A lecturer from the Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) Borneo Marine Research Institute, Zarinah Waheed, concurred with the findings, saying her team had also found very few fish during their survey which was carried out last year.

She also said that her team had covered most of the island, except in the western parts as the effort was hampered by typhoon.

According to UMS School of Business and Economics lecturer Dr James Alin, not gazetting the Tun Mustapha Park years ago has been a great loss to Sabah not just financially but also in terms of loss of corals and marine species within the affected region.

“It has been ten years (since the proposal to make the area a park) and it still hasn’t been realised. We can only calculate our losses by calculating how much it would cost us to restore the region to its former conditions,” Alin reporters after listening to the five papers presented during the morning session of the Tun Mustapha Park mini symposium, which painted a bleak picture on marine species diversity at Pulau Banggi.

He added that gazetting the area into a park would benefit not only the environment but also the people who depend on fishing for a living.

The State Government, through a State Cabinet decision, approved the proposal to gazette the Tun Mustapha Park in 2003.

The objectives of the establishment of the proposed TMP are to protect and enhance biodiversity of terrestrial and marine environment of the area, to exploit the marine and terrestrial resources of the area in an ecologically sustainable manner and to alleviate the socio-economic condition of the local people particularly the hard-core poor of the area, through ecologically sustainable economic development.

.
.

Labels: ,

Official opening of four landmarks in Miri


MIRI: Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud yesterday officiated at the simultaneous opening ceremony of Meritz Hotel, Bintang Megamall New Wing, Parkson and GSC Bintang Megamall here.

The grand ceremony was also held to mark the first anniversary of Meritz Hotel, which started operation last year.

In his speech, Meritz executive chairman Datuk Professor Lau Siu Wai, who is also chairman of Miri Housing Group, said the celebration was a indeed a proud moment for him in that he was finally able to bring new impetus to the city to move forward while at the same contributing to the country’s economic growth.

He related that his journey towards success was rough and challenging but rewarding.

“I’ve encountered setbacks three times but the worse one was in the early 1970s,” Lau recalled, saying he remained undeterred till this day.

He said by that time he had known the chief minister, and that the latter was the one who inspired him and gave him the encouragement to face the challenges.

“It is not my policy to look back. It is in this spirit, I have the chance to show to Pehin Sri what I have done up to today especially with the building of Meritz Hotel,” he said.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Official opening of four landmarks in Miri
.
.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

10 Things You Must Know About Orang Utan


Orang Utans is to be considered as the most intelligent primate species on earth. Even until today, numerous biologists and scientists are still trying to discover the secrets of these unique primates. They have a long and slightly reddish brown colour fur on their body. Their behaviour, social life and characteristics still remain a mystery to us humankind.

Then again, unlike any other primates or monkeys, the Orang Utans uniqueness is what caught most of our attention. Other than that, Orang Utans are currently facing threats and extinctions. In the past, most of the Dayak and Sumatran people resided in Borneo, captured Orang Utan for its meat and fur.

Based on Orang Utans statistical population report which was done by the Rehabilitation Center at the Kuching Semenggoh Rehabilitation Center, there are a total number of 1200 compared to past previous years. Their population growth is actually showing a positive sign.

To get to know them better, here are some fun facts about the Orang Utan:

1) Nesting Ground

 In a day, they can actively make three to four nesting trees in a day.

2) Average Life Span

Uniquely, the Orang Utans life span is similar to  human beings. They can live up to an average of fifty to sixty years of age.

Currently at the Semenggoh Rehabilitation Center, the eldest male Orang Utan is Ricthie currently aged 34 and eldest female known as Seduku aged 56 years old.

3) They Dislike the Rain

Weird but true. Orang Utans can be the best weather reporter around town! If they looked at the sky filled with thick dark clouds they will start building a nest to prevent them from getting wet inder the rain.

Be sure to lookout for Orang Utan that is busy building a nest on such weather. You will know what the weather is like for the day!

4) DNA Similarities

Researchers managed to unlock their secrets a little and found out their DNA sequence have the highest similarities to human beings. Similarities percentage is at 90 to  91 percent!

Does this mean the Darwinism Theory of human evolution from an ape is true? No one knows.

5) Orang Utans Get Periods

Like a normal opposite human female, they do have periods. The female Orang Utan period cycle is about the same as a female human.

6) Pregnancy Is Normal

How long is the Orang Utan pregnancy before her first born child? Believe it or not female Orang Utan even went through a nine months pregnancy before having child birth!

Is it not amazing?

Continue reading (Incl. Pics & Video) at: 10 Things You Must Know About Orang Utan
.
.

Labels: ,