Welcome to Day 15 of the A-Z Blogging Challenge. My theme is:
Edited extract from one of my articles published in Air Nuiguini’s in-flight magazine:
The trail was slick with mud. Sweat trickled down my back. The air smelt rich and peaty from rotting leaves. Thick jungle muffled the scrapings and scratchings of unseen wildlife. My husband stopped abruptly with a small exclamation of disgust. A leech was exploring his boot.
We were in the Sepilok Forest Reserve in Sabah, Malaysia on the island of Borneo searching for pongo pygmaeus, better known as orang-utan: The Man of the Forest.
The orang-utan is the only ape in South-east Asia and their numbers are dwindling at an alarming rate.
We slogged for an hour up the track in the reserve but our search only yielded ants, millipedes and leeches. Our time was limited. If we wanted to see orang-utans we would have to visit the rehabilitation centre.
Staff conduct two feeding sessions for the apes at a nearby platform in the forest. The orang-utans who visit this feeding station are in the last stages of rehabilitation. Whilst the animals are completely at liberty, they haven't quite severed ties with the Centre.
We followed the signs along wooden boardwalks to the busy public viewing area.
Ropes had been placed to allow the apes easy access to the feeding platform. We watched in delight as young apes swung along these ropes, stopping periodically to take a good look at the gawping visitors.
I was struck by their silent contemplation of us and gentle behaviour with each other.
We went for another walk along a trail in the reserve in the hope of seeing a male adult Man of the Forest. But the fully grown males don't need human interaction any longer and stay hidden deep in the reserve.
All we got were leeches and millipedes, but maybe it was better that way.
See you tomorrow – I’m heading south east again. Can you guess where and what the next animal will be?
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