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Discovering Borneo wildlife with children in Sabah, Malaysia

“Have a look at their noses wobbling Mum!” giggled my daughter, as we watched a troop of proboscis monkeys tucking into their meals – simply one of many excessive factors throughout per week recognizing some unforgettable Borneo wildlife with children.

My daughter points towards a group of proboscis monkeys in Labuk Bay Sanctuary on a trip discovering Borneo wildlife with kids

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Our go to to Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary was the ultimate cease of our implausible whistle-stop go to to Sabah in Malaysian Borneo with Intrepid Journey, however simply considered one of an countless string of memorable moments.

We’d anticipated to be wowed by the orangutans (and we had been) however that was solely a single spotlight from a visit which left my animal-loving daughter open-mouthed, grinning and decided to do her half to assist Borneo’s endangered wildlife.

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre & Bornean Solar Bear Conservation Centre

In a single nook, a one-year-old was practising ahead rolls, legs flying with every roly-poly, grin seen on the opposite facet of the play space. Elsewhere on the ropes, one other infant was hanging off an even bigger buddy, the pair of them having enormous enjoyable dangling and climbing.

In the event you ignored the orange fur, you could possibly have been in any playground world-wide. However this was the great Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, a should on any itinerary for Borneo with children, the place you cannot solely see these nice apes however be taught extra about how they’re being protected.

Orangutan with a pile of fruit including watermelon at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Borneo - one of the highlights of a week spotting Borneo wildlife with kids

The centre takes rescued and orphaned orangutans and helps them be taught the abilities they should survive within the wild – for infants, meaning getting them an older orangutan ‘buddy’ as they play within the nursery, watched by guests behind one-way glass in order that they’re unaware of any scrutiny.

As they become older, they’re progressively moved to completely different areas, which open onto the rainforest in order that they’re free to go away – an unchanging menu of meals on daily basis encourages them to go out and forage for themselves.

Some by no means return to the sanctuary, whereas others head again each few days, so there aren’t any ensures you’ll see the adults. However you would possibly get so much nearer than you anticipate! Strolling alongside the wood walkways to the feeding platform, we noticed two full-grown orangutans making their very own method alongside the handrail.

Two orangutans walk along the wooden handrail at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre - one of the fantastic sights during our trip to Borneo with kids

And throughout the highway within the Solar Bear sanctuary, which helps defend the world’s smallest bear, a mom orangutan along with her child was resting on the junction of three paths – edging previous cautiously with my very own daughter, who’d been chattering away about which orangutan she needed to undertake, she was immediately silenced, eyes extensive on the thrill of being so close to.

Briefly, at the least. Since then, she’s requested for an orangutan and solar bear adoption on her birthday wishlist, and recommended the orangutan rehabilitation centre as a charity for her faculty to assist – proof optimistic of simply how massive an influence journey can have for households.

Try my video of a go to to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehibilitation Centre with children

Sandakan Rainforest Discovery Centre

My daughter gasped because the squirrel leapt into the air, its ‘wings’ opening because it glided simply to the subsequent tree. Watching large flying squirrels excessive up within the tree cover, on a walkway 620m above floor degree, was a world away from spying their on a regular basis gray cousins in our native park.

Within the background, the soundtrack of giant Pomponia merula. Higher referred to as the 6 o’clock cicada, because it begins its mixture of croaking and high-pitched chirrups round sundown, among the bugs make extra noise than the common motorcycle.

As night time fell and we wandered the paths to the sunshine of our torches, we felt miles from civilisation – having Intrepid Journey deal with the sensible facet of this household journey, particularly as I used to be travelling alone with my daughter, was an enormous benefit once you’re heading off the crushed monitor.

Treetop canopy walkway in the Sepilok rainforest discovery centre - one of the best places to spot Borneo wildlife with kids

Fortunately our information not solely stored us from getting completely misplaced, but in addition had a formidable means to identify among the forest’s shyest and rarest nocturnal creatures.

The spotlight? Seeing a Western tarsier – one of many oldest mammals on the planet, tarsiers date again an astonishing 55 million years. With their enormous eyes and unusual elongated fingers, which wouldn’t look misplaced on ET (nice for gripping timber), they’re simply startled.

The primary two we encountered had clearly heard us coming, and leapt off into the undergrowth. However our persistence was rewarded, with the sight of 1 clinging to a department, its eyes gleaming at midnight.

Rising from the knee-high bushes, we had been silently thrilled to have seen one for ourselves – and in my case, additionally happy that we hadn’t encountered one other native forest-dweller… the leech!

Try my video of our go to to the Sepilok Rainforest Discovery Centre

Kinabatangan River

10 minutes after climbing into our boat and rushing off down the Kinabatangan River, we noticed them – a household of three pygmy elephants within the water.

Trunks entwined, the newborn was busily play-fighting with considered one of its dad and mom, whereas the opposite splashed by the water in search of meals on the other financial institution. At round 8-10ft tall when totally grown, they may be small for elephants however nonetheless fairly sizeable.

How, we puzzled, are you able to probably prime that? However the wildlife alongside the river is so wealthy and assorted that every of our cruises to identify Borneo’s wildlife in its pure habitat had numerous moments to recollect.

Throughout two afternoon boat journeys, we noticed monkeys splashing about by the water’s edge earlier than settling down within the timber to sleep, their backs to the river as night-time predators would come from the forest – proboscis monkeys, silver leaf monkeys, long-tailed macaques, short-tailed macaques too, all leaping, climbing after which curling up collectively because the solar sank in the direction of the horizon.

Two pgymy elephants with their trunks entwined, playing in the Kinabatangan river in Borneo - one of the most exciting examples to see of Borneo wildlife with kids

Elsewhere crocodiles basked on the banks, whereas birds flew overhead – an iridescent flash of blue from a kingfisher, dramatic black and crimson broadbills with their eye-catching inexperienced beaks, a number of species of hornbill, gleaming white herons, and extra.

Venturing down a bit tributary – and getting completely over-excited at a sighting of a ‘crocodile’ swimming close by, which turned out to be a floating log – we ducked below the branches of a fallen tree to achieve an oxbow lake, coated with purple water hyacinths, a peaceable stretch of water carved out by the river.

At daybreak, the river shrouded in mist, we noticed the rainforest slowly got here to life. And at night time, we glimpsed an owl ready to hunt, whereas a uncommon sluggish loris clung to a department throughout its nocturnal outing, all below extra stars than we’d ever seen, solely the splash of our wake disturbing the silence.

We obtained to play a small half in serving to defend the animals too, becoming a member of a neighborhood conservation venture to plant elephant grass. Seeing the pygmy elephants within the river might need been a vacation spotlight for us, however it’s really lack of meals which forces them to vary extra extensively.

Supported by the Intrepid Basis, which works with native communities in Intrepid Journey’s journey locations, it ensures tourism makes a optimistic influence – and provides households an opportunity to get arms on. Whereas my city-dwelling daughter isn’t normally eager on getting her arms soiled, she jumped on the probability to assist the elephants, feeling a specific connection after seeing them first-hand.

Try my video of our wildlife-spotting cruises on the Kinabatangan River

Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary

If the macaques received the title of cheekiest monkeys noticed throughout our Borneo household vacation, the proboscis monkeys received my daughter’s coronary heart for his or her distinctive appears.

To make it within the proboscis monkey world, the larger your nostril and stomach, the higher. Having seen them clambering within the timber alongside the Kinabatangan River, harems in tow, or among the bachelor teams settling down at night time, we couldn’t wait to see them shut up on the sanctuary.

Proboscis monkey sitting in a tree at Labuk Bay Sanctuary in Borneo - among the most unusual Borneo wildlife to see with kids

As soon as we’d obtained previous the Silver Leaf monkeys, that was, together with some vibrant orange infants with their silver-grey moms – and one being taken care of by a well-meaning however barely ineffectual massive sister, as its personal mum snacked close by.

However for leisure, you couldn’t beat the proboscis monkeys: lounging casually in a department as if it had been an armchair, paws on knees and noses very undoubtedly wobbling up and down with every chew they took.

One enterprising mom was even giving her child a fast wash within the bowl of water ignored to drink from – and we realized that proboscis monkeys can really use these massive noses as snorkels once they swim.

No surprise they rapidly turned my daughter’s agency favorite, a much-cuddled fluffy proboscis monkey toy now a everlasting reminder of our unforgettable Borneo household journey.

For extra particulars of Intrepid Journey’s Borneo household vacation, try the completely different itineraries on their web site

Disclosure: My journey was courtesy of Intrepid Journey and this submit was written as a part of a paid collaboration – all opinions are mine (and my daughter’s) as attending to see this Borneo wildlife with children genuinely was superb

Photos copyright MummyTravels


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