DixPix Photographs

     

INDONESIAN ARCHIPELAGO

 
     
  PRIMATES  

 

Our nearest neighbors in the genetic spectrum, and with similar emotions, real or imagined.  Our fellow primates have always held a special fascination for many people.  This bond, however, is not widely felt by most of the rural population in Indonesia.  I well recall a time in central Sumatra when a young gibbon fell out of a tree in an area with several locals.  Every one of them took after it with sticks and stones trying to kill it-- not because it had any value or caused any harm, but that was simply what one did to wildlife.  This attitude, coupled with hunting and with rampant habitat loss as the rainforest is destroyed, has left a dim future for our fellow primates across the region.

 

The only hominid (other than humans) outside of Africa is the Orangutan.  The name comes from the Indonesian (bahasa) term Orang Hutan, literally 'person of the forest'. Click to see big picture (640x421 pixels; 121 KB)
This is a wild Orangutan in the Kinabatangan area of eastern Sabah.  It is difficult to get a good photo of these elusive tree dwellers. Click to see big picture (457x480 pixels; 105 KB)
Most Orangutan photography is from rehabilitation sanctuaries, in this case at Sepilok in Sabah.  This would be a male Borneo Orangutan, Pongo pygmaeus.  Why anyone would give this animal the species name of pygmy, is beyond me. Click to see big picture (333x480 pixels; 62 KB)
Sactuaries such as Sepilok bring in young orangutans which have been orphaned by hunting or the carnage involved in land clearing.  They are fed and hopefully will become self sufficient.  Click to see big picture (640x480 pixels; 114 KB)
It is also  a bit of a social center for the local orangutan population, and a chance to show off for the tourists. Click to see big picture (594x480 pixels; 180 KB)
Zoos give a chance for a wider population to appreciate primates, and here at the one in Singapore, they are given ample room.  This is apparently the Sumatran Orangutan, Pongo abelii. Click to see big picture (338x480 pixels; 75 KB)
On the other hand, this 'zoo' near Bukittinggi, Sumatra, keeps orangutans in cages little larger than themselves.  Here two prisoners share an (unlit) cigarette through a broken wall between their cells. Click to see big picture (640x429 pixels; 86 KB)
Gibbons are my favorite, largely because of their haunting calls that give a soul to the dawn.  These are White Handed Gibbons, Sumatran version of Hylobates lar, conveniently showing a white hand. Click to see big picture (640x445 pixels; 92 KB)
Wild Gibbons in central Sumatra; likely the Black Handed (or Agile) Gibbon, Hylobates agilis.  Arboreal and fiercely territorial, they are at a complete loss when their forest is destroyed, as promptly happened here. Click to see big picture (640x433 pixels; 137 KB)
Better to enjoy them in the security of the Singapore zoo, where the adults show off their arboreal skill. Click to see big picture (640x358 pixels; 107 KB)
And the youngsters learn both acrobatics and social skills. Click to see big picture (640x394 pixels; 104 KB)
A Long-tailed Macaque, Macaca fascicularis, uses a perch on a rope over the Tenegang Besar River in northwestern Borneo to show that he does indeed have a long tail. Click to see big picture (414x480 pixels; 28 KB)
A more typical pose in the evening beside the same river. Click to see big picture (414x480 pixels; 76 KB)
Most tourists get to meet the Long-tailed Macaque as a temple monkey at certain sites in Bali. Click to see big picture (640x445 pixels; 116 KB)
Its a pretty good life for the temple macaques, you get to bum your food, defecate on sacred shrines and bite the occasional tourist. Click to see big picture (640x405 pixels; 70 KB)
With the growing population in a limited pan-handling area, however, this youngster may be destined to tribal warfare. Click to see big picture (640x408 pixels; 104 KB)
Back to Sumatra with another monkey with a long tail, but otherwise of rather strange appearance. Click to see big picture (389x480 pixels; 128 KB)
"Yikes! a Human".  A Pigtail Macaque is caught by a flash in Sabah. Click to see big picture (484x480 pixels; 90 KB)
In a more relaxed setting in the Sepilok Reserve, Pigtail Macaques, Macaca nemestrina, can look more contemplative. Click to see big picture (640x367 pixels; 72 KB)
The Silvery Langur (Trachypithecus cristatus) is also known a Silver Leaf Monkey.  It ranges from Burma to Borneo, here seen in the Sakan area of the latter. Click to see big picture (358x480 pixels; 85 KB)
The young of the Silvery Langur are an orange color. Click to see big picture (418x480 pixels; 118 KB)
The Red Langur is more or less endemic to Borneo.  It is also known as the Maroon Leaf Monkey (Presbytis rubicunda). Click to see big picture (518x480 pixels; 112 KB)
Like other 'leaf monkeys', they use stomach fermentation to help digest their food, which is mainly leaves.  Captive, Singapore. Click to see big picture (640x386 pixels; 104 KB)
The Proboscis Monkey (Nasalis larvatus) is renown for its nose, although those of the male are larger than these females.  It is usually considered one of the Leaf Monkeys.  Confined to the lowlands of Borneo (here in Sabah), it is an endangered species. probiscus monkey
A female proboscis is angered by our intrusion.  It is locally called Bekantan, but often referred to as Orang Belanda, meaning Dutchman, as the large belly and nose reminded natives of their colonial masters. probiscus monkey
The Slow Loris (Nycticebus coucang) is also an arboreal Primate.  It is indeed slow, but can produce a toxic saliva from a fluid produced in its armpits.  It is known in Indonesia as Kukang, but often called Malu-malu, which means 'shy'.  They always look more sad than shy to me. Click to see big picture (640x467 pixels; 95 KB)
Easy to capture, this is how the Slow Loris is usually met, either as a pet in a small cage or en route to be sold to the pet trade.  The species has recently been split into four, all more or less endangered. Click to see big picture (640x449 pixels; 80 KB)
An unidentified monkey climbs a limbless tree in central Sumatra.  Neither tree nor monkey are likely to last long. Click to see big picture (278x480 pixels; 80 KB)
At our approach, another monkey makes a desperate leap in a forest from which most of the trees have already disappeared. Click to see big picture (640x455 pixels; 121 KB)
Here an orphaned youngster, fleeing a burning forest, is stopped by a river.  It looks like a Pigtail Macaque. Click to see big picture (640x403 pixels; 85 KB)
Caught dozing, this monkey looks tranquil, but it spends its life on a short chain tethered to a stump, someone's idea of a pet.  So which would you rather be, a refugee or a prisoner?  But then we are Primates but not Monkeys, and at times we have not treated fellow humans any better. Click to see big picture (327x480 pixels; 55 KB)