Before I started researching my trip to Malaysia I don’t think I had ever heard of the proboscis monkey. As soon as I saw a photo of one, I knew I wanted to see it.
They are endemic to the south-east Asian island of Borneo. Usually the monkeys are spotted in coastal areas and near rivers. They prefer to be near a water source and typically don’t stray more than a kilometer from water. And they can swim. However, they spend most of their time in trees. During the morning the proboscis forage for food, eating mostly leaves and fruit. The rest of the hours during the day involve resting, traveling, eating, and keeping watch for crocodiles, clouded leopards, monitor lizards, pythons, and eagles. Yikes that’s a lot of predators. In the evening they return to the river to eat again and then sleep in the trees.
The proboscis monkey is listed as endangered. Sadly, over the last forty years their population has diminished by over 50%, even though they are a protected species in all the areas of Borneo. Given this fact I wasn’t that hopeful that we would run into them. Imagine my delight when the guide pointed and said, “Proboscis monkeys.”
It’s easy to identify one in the wild—just look at the nose.
We saw a few groups along the Kinabatangan River during our evening cruises. Here you can see them hanging about.
Then it was time for them to settle down for the night.
Such odd, but wonderful creatures.