Befittingly Anatole France once quoted –“ until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remain un-awakened .” How well do you relate to this quote? Did you know that tigers cannot purr and in order to show happiness so they squint or close their eyes? How adorable is that? Were there times where you visited a National Park or the zoo and wished you could just take back a part of the place? I, being an animal lover for as long as I can remember was allowed to have a pet only when I turned 20. And when I visited Sabah for a week’s tour I missed my little Oreo (that’s my Persian’s name) more than I missed my family (cannot believe these animal lovers). Sabah too, I feel, is very familiar with having cats as their pets. I was thrilled whenever I passed one and went on calling it Oreo. So why am I telling you this? Well, the excitement was 100 fold when they told me how we’d be going to catch a glimpse of a few of Sabah’s exceptional wildlife.
Sabah is known for its district wildlife species and its biodiversity. Before I tell you how fortunate I was to see one of these species I would first like to mention the explicit wildlife found mostly in Sabah.
- The Sumatran Rhinoceros – this which is already extinct in Sabah due to poaching
- The Binturong – A black furry bearcat
- The Borneo Pygmy Elephants – the cutest baby-faced elephants found only in central and eastern Sabah
- Banteng – could be mistaken for a domesticated cow and is in the verge of extinction due to poaching
- The Sunda Pangolin- found only in Borneo
- The Sun Bear – these are the smallest of all bears measuring up to 4 feet in height
- The Clouded Leopard
- Slow Loris – uncertainty of the number has classified them as vulnerable and endangered
- The Orangutans – just like the ones in the movie “Dunston Checks- In”
- Proboscis Monkey – also known as the Dutch monkey
So when you visit Sabah the next time try finding a few of these animals while you are still privileged to see them before their extinction.
As mentioned earlier I would now tell you what I experienced and how great it felt to see those little souls wander in the rainforests. After an amazing night at the Sabah Tea Resort, we made our way to the place that took us on a cruise to spot the Proboscis monkeys. We all had a quick lunch and waited patiently for the cruise to board us all on to it. We had to wait for a few hours as they mostly took us on the cruise ride during sunset as the river joined the sea at some point and when the sunset was viewed from this point it would just be mind-boggling.
Initially, our cruise ride was all buttoned up and no one spotted anything. We also tried looking for a few Proboscis monkeys but unfortunately, they were all under hiding. Since none of us wanted to miss the sunset we were taken to the point where the river and the sun met the sea and what I saw was literally eternal paradise. The serenity feeling was so high that I wouldn’t have minded spending the rest of my life on those banks and unfortunately, my visa would expire in a week’s time and so I decided against it. We stopped for a few pictures before we were back on the cruise hunting to sight a few of the monkeys under hiding.
As we moved quietly through the Kota Klias river we came across a huge tree with at least 20 of the Proboscis monkeys and trust me I really cannot explain to you how I felt at that moment. They were all up there just grooming themselves and not giving a damn about the world ( or us ) and it was the most harmonious thing ever. While we were asked to settle down and not get too excited as we would scare the monkeys away we were told on how they followed a leaders routine. Typically a group consisted of 1 dominant male and 8 females with their offsprings and all of them followed the dominant male. The male Proboscis have the longest nose sometimes reaching up to 17cms that they have to push them out of their way while they eat . How cute is that? The mother’s feeding the young ones was such a sight that I was overwhelmed with mother nature’s beauty implication. Finally being satisfied with spotting a few proboscis’s we made our way back to the deck for an early dinner.
Now you’d definitely regret not seeing a Proboscis monkey cause they are already on the verge of extinction. So just pack your bags right away and get on a flight to go see them at the Kota Klias before they permanently go into hiding.