Bukit Merah Orang Utan Island

Posted on March 5th, 2014 by

for blog

This is one of the trips I was most excited about before even arriving in Malaysia, and it did not disappoint! When we first arrived at the park in Bukit Merah we had to wait for a bit until a boat left to take us to a nearby island where the Orang Utans were located. As we pulled up to the island I saw an Orang Utan in the distance before we even touched land, and I was so excited!!! It was my first experience seeing an ape or a monkey in the wild.

Speaking of apes and monkeys, I learned that there is actually a difference between the two. Monkeys have tails, and apes do not. We listened to a short lecture to learn a bit more about the Orang Utans before heading off to explore the island. We learned so much from their diet to the history of the island we were at. We learned that their diet mostly consists of local fruits, shoots, barks, small insects, termites, and bird eggs. We also learned that their DNA is 97% similar to humans, crazy! Also similar to humans, their gestation period is 8.5 – 9 months, and they can even occasionally have twins! I wish we could have seen some of the infants on the island, but we did have the privilege of getting some close contact with a few pretty young, energetic Orang Utans! There were three younger ones that were being held at the main facility until they were ready to be released into their more natural habitat, free to roam on the island. These guys were so crazy! You could tell they liked all the attention we were giving them. They were also very clever. There was a tiny hole in the cage that one of them found and stuck a stick through. When it came through the other side Haley grabbed the stick and the two were playing tug of war!! These animals are strong. One dominant male Orang Utan can have the strength of 10 to 15 men!

The rest of the monkeys we saw were all in the forest. Contrary to most settings I have witnesses wild animals in, we were the ones caged in viewing the wild life  on the outside instead of the other way around. We had to walk through a caged corridor that took us through the rainforest to try to spot the Orang Utans in their natural habitat. We were especially lucky to get to see two brothers playing around! We were told they do not usually rough around like they were in front of people, so it was a cool sight to experience. We also saw a couple larger Orang Utans chilling in the trees and on the ground. One of them was even named Harry Potter!!

When it came time to leave the island I was not ready, but it was a day I will not soon forget. It is just amazing seeing such exotic animals out in the wild that I could never see if I wasn’t half way around the world! Just another day in paradise here in Malaysia.


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