Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Naughty Chiam, the orang utan

This is Chiam, a female orang utan at Matang Wildlife Centre, Kuching, Sarawak.

“I’m a supermodel, start clicking!”

She’s quite a supermodel, posing for us, pouting and pursing her lips, half closing her eyes while striking a pose. It was quite funny to watch her.

Lazily lying about, as we first saw her.

When we walked up to the viewing point, she was just laying atop the climbing structure lazily in the afternoon heat. After we took several photos of her like that, she sat up and studied us for a bit, fixing her eyes steadfastly on one of my friends and ignoring the rest of us. Haha that was funny and a bit freaky.


Then she climbed down, took a quick sip of water from a puddle, walked to the high perimeter wall where we were and plopped down on her back, assuming a very funny pose, legs in the air, feet grabbing her forearms and hands on her head. She just laid there like that for quite a while, making funny faces every now and then.

Playing dead?

At one point she covered her eyes with her hands but we could see her peeking at us still haha.

She recently gave birth to a healthy male baby orang too.

"Too sexy for my fur!"

When it was time to leave, we said goodbye to her and just as if she understood, she got up and went right back to her original position on top of the climbing structure. She even assumed the exact same pose like when we first saw her, laying lazily like nothing had happened! 

The look on her face is hilarious! LOL

There’s a story involving this supermodel orang utan, one that clearly loves the cameras. Some years back a lady tourist who visited the area encountered her along the trails. We do not know what really happened but the lady ended up needing stitches at the hospital after her encounter. The female orang utan had bitten her on her thigh and she later threatened to sue the center. This story was all over the local papers at the time. I don't know what happened after, perhaps they settled out of court and up went the big "caution" signs. One of the signs has an orang utan looking like Homer Simpson. ;D

Homer is an orang utan! Since the unfortunate incident, big, conspicuous signs have been erected warning visitors to enter at their own risk as well as what not to do when entering the trails and what to do when encountering a free roaming orang utan.

Look into her eyes, does she look like a tourist biter? ;)

orang_utan (2)
Quite a character!

It must have learned to recognize the sound of the word “bye” from many other visitors before because when we said goodbye to it and got ready to leave, it too got up and went back to its original position exactly like how we first saw it!

As usual, more photos at my Flickr site. Click here for the photoset “Orang Utans at MWC”.

About MWC, briefly
Many visitors to the MWC fail to realize that it is NOT a zoo, it has never been a zoo and never will be a zoo. This is a rehabilitation center, focused on reintroducing animals back into the wild once they have been rehabilitated. The animals here come from various parties, either confiscated or donated/brought here (such as by farmers who caught the animals destroying their crops etc.).

Therefore, visitors should not expect lots of animals in the cages or enclosures. In fact, the less animals seen in the enclosures the better for a place like this as it means they have been successfully rehab’ed and released back into the jungles (or that there are less problems with poaching now, therefore less confiscated animals). Unfortunately, some residents are no longer capable of fending for themselves in the wild and will live the rest of their lives here. One such example is Aman, a very old and large male orang utan who recently underwent cataract surgery.

The animal enclosures are just one part of the centre. MWC is actually part of Kubah National Park and there are many trails here and a beautiful river running through it. One can also trek to Kubah National Park and use the same entrance ticket at MWC.

I may post a separate blog entry about the MWC when I have time.

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