Proboscis Monkeys and Fireflies at Garama Village

Proboscis Monkeys

This weekend I had visitors from Germany here in Kota Kinabalu who wanted to explore Sabah for a few days. Of course we wanted to do something exciting and “Bornean” together. Since we did not have much time, we decided to try a one-day trip to Garama Village in the southwest of Sabah, where we would be able to spot the famous Proboscis “Long-Nosed” Monkeys as well as fireflies during a river cruise along Garama River.

 We were picked up in Kota Kinabalu by a tour bus and drove down south for about two hours before reaching Garama Village. Before starting the river cruise, a little boat took us to a small restaurant where we had tea and local sweets – pisang goreng (fried bananas) and sticky rice with anchovies wrapped in banana leaves. After enjoying the quiet in the middle of nowhere, we started the river cruise in the late afternoon, because the Proboscis monkeys do not come out as long as it is still too hot.

River Cruise along Garama River in Sabah, Malaysia
The area of Garama was named after a crab the locals call “garama” because there is a large amount of them living in the river serving as food for the local people.Within the village area, locals are still allowed to hunt for wild animals, but the killing of Proboscis monkeys is strictly prohibited. Borneo is the only place on earth where the Long-Nosed Monkey can still be found. When leaving the local area of Garama and entering governmental grounds, all surroundings are protected by law.
It did not take long until we were able to watch the first group of Proboscis in a tree at the riverside. There are three different types of groups.
Female Proboscis with the pointed nose
The most common social group is a family with a few female proboscis being the boss and one male. You can distinguish male and female easily – females are smaller and have a pointed nose that is much tinier than the male’s. A Proboscis female can get pregnant four times a year, but she will only stay with the same male for a limited amount of time before looking for another partner. The children stay with their mother for about two years. If a female really gets four babies a year, she will get quite busy having to take care of all the nestlings.
The second grouping is called the “Bachelor Group” as it consists of male proboscis that have been left by their female partners and could not find a new mate. And the last group would be the one of the outcast – males and females which cannot reproduce and are therefore unable to find a mate.
Male Proboscis with the long flat nose
The first group we saw was a family with babies, later on we spotted a tree full of males who must have been bachelors. The Proboscis appeared to be rather slow-paced and very friendly. Since the male can reach up to 25kg, their movements are slow and relaxed. Even though we got quite close, they remained in their tree, feeding from its leaves. Proboscis have a mostly vegetarian diet and only very rarely consume insects. But they were definitely curious, watching us sitting in the boats and taking pictures of them. After a while, they left the tree and disappeared in the jungle.
On the way back to the river restaurant we were lucky enough to spot a few Silver Langours, dark-furred monkeys with a Mohawk haircut. But they were rather shy and tried to hied from us as our boat was approaching their tree.
Back at the restaurant we had a beautiful local dinner with rice, different kinds of vegetables, beef, chicken and fish as well as fruits for dessert. Now it was time to apply some mosquito repellent as it was getting darker.
Garama River at dusk
After dinner we went back to our little boats back down the river Garama in order to look for fireflies. I learned that there are about 1900 different species of fireflies around the world, each living in different surroundings and different kinds of trees. The fireflies in Garama are very small and thus produce a lot of blinking so that the trees in which they live look like Christmas trees. Unfortunately the trees were just changing leaves so that there were not as many fireflies, but we could still see the trees glowing. It was very peaceful to watch the fireflies shining while sitting in the boats under a star-bright sky in the quiet of the jungle.
Water buffalo swimming in Garama River
On the way back to the base camp where our bus was waiting for us we were lucky and got so see water buffaloes swimming along Garama River. They were not wild though, but belonged to local farmers. It was still a very special sight in the darkness.
It was a beautiful day full of impressions and a lot of impact. Even though it was only a day’s trip, we got to experience the real wildlife sensation while out in the jungle of southern Sabah. It was also a great opportunity to finally see the famous Proboscis Monkey, who has been voted the mascot for “Visit Malaysia 2014″.


1 Response

  1. 情趣用品 says:

    Awesome! Thanks your sharing!

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