Photos - Orangutans of Borneo - Part 1

Sea Mist > Sold to New Owners July 2016
John and Cheryl Ellsworth
Sat 3 Nov 2012 13:15

The Orangutans


We have been talking about going to the wilds of Borneo to see the Orangutans or the old spelling Orangutangs, we are finally here, and  will be visiting Tanjung Putting National Park, in central Kalimantan Province.  The Orangutans can be found here and in Sumatra, two islands, that is it!


Harry’s Tours took care of us for three days and two nights.  Harry provides a boat person to oversee the boat whilst you are away,

John giving instructions to our boat person, we provided him with drinks and snacks and he in turn would run our engine twice each day and keep the boat clean.





We noticed a number of boats going to the same river we were going only they had family and bikes with them, we asked Jenie, our guide about this and he told us  they were off to the Palm Oil Plantations or the Gold mines.  The families go with the workers as they stay at these places for a month at a time.


We are off




These boats are called Klotoks, now why are they called this...because they have very noisy engines that sound like, you guessed it, Klotok, klotok, they are trying to get quieter engines but it all costs money and we have found the Indonesians to be most tolerant of these type of inconveniences, like noisy engines, broken boards on the walkways, very high stairs, etc. We had our little troop, Imagine and Sea Mist on one boat and Ambika and Roxy on the other, with lots of heat and humidity.  We had Jenie our animal guru, Robbie our historian and man about Indonesia and Sui our cook.  They all worked very hard to provide an exceptional experience for all of us.


The river does get narrower and you wonder if it would close up with vegetation.

Sui cooked for both boats; she is getting another wok to cook our meals.  Our friends from S/V Ambika and S/V Roxy joined us on our boat for all the meals over the 3 days.


We didn’t realize people live along the river; it seemed like a very lonely existence and if they needed anything would have to go into Kumai, which would take a lot of time in their little boats.


This young woman was very careful to use a pail and not get into the water as there are crocs, just waiting...



Our first stop is Camp Leakey.  We walked along the path towards the camp and encountered three orangutans!




our first encounter

This is Siswi, she is the Queen, and she had one successful birth, Samuel, and can no longer get pregnant due to complications.  She is very old now, and the other male orangs know she is always the bridesmaid, never the bride, so they never try to mate with her, as a result she is very sad a lot of the time, watching the other orangs, but makes a great auntie to play with the young ones and they love her.


Mom is up ahead going for the food at the feeding station.


This is Unjuk Akmad, she is called the troublesome orang, and unfortunately passes it on to her off spring.  She will try to grab water from you, will bite and squeeze with her very strong hands, the ranger watches her all the time when she is around the tour groups, she grabbed Lars’ knee, she saw his water and when he went to move a bit she applied more pressure to stop him, then the Ranger came over to shoo her away.  The Orangutans look very intently into your eyes,

I found I was very uncomfortable when Unyuk looked into my eyes as you get the feeling she can go off on you at any given time.


Unyuk had just tried to take a bottle of water from a person sitting on one of the benches, the ranger stopped her – but she sat and watched everyone for about fifteen minutes, looking for another opportunity.


At the feeding station, they get yams, bananas and mangoes.

I guess I should add a little information about the camps we visited.  Camp Leakey is a research and rehabilitation center, created to care for the orphaned orangutans.  They are used to people so you can get up very close to them to take your photos.


Mom and baby sharing a mango


Mom and her baby just hanging out.

Their faces are quite expressive.

We called this guy Goofy.

Mom and baby sharing food, as they get to be juveniles, Mom tries not to share so much they need to find their own food.


More to come in our next entry…..