SANDAKAN is probably best known for its humane-looking Urang Utans. But another species of monkey has been gaining popularity amongst the tourists over the years. It is - the PROBOSCIS monkey.
My interest in this unique species of monkey had led me into visiting a place where a close encounter with them is 100% guaranteed. It is the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Santuary.
Proboscis monkeys are known to exist only in certain places on the island of Borneo. A male proboscis monkey has a protruding belly and its protruding large nose is an important asset to attract female monkeys. Well, proboscis monkeys are probably the most polygamous monkey species in the world with each male has a large group of loyal ‘wives’ following him anywhere he goes. And before he can get 'married' with this group of females, he has to prove that he is every inch worth to be given the privilege (of having a large group of wives). I mean EVERY inch..
How? Ahhh. This is the most interesting part. Every now and then a male from a group, known as the group of bachelors (yes, there is a group of bachelors!) would come forward to stake in a challenge over any of the males with those wives. In the process of challenging the position, a fiery fighting would usually ensue. Losing the fight would mean losing his position as the leader and the winning bachelor would take over not only his position but all of his wives! Once ousted, he’d return to the group he surely had once belonged to, the group of bachelors.
If it happened the other way around where the leader won, the male with wives would retain his title (and wives). The losing challenger would usually lose his pride and become too embarrassed to return to his group of bachelors. He’d go rambling by himself, staying away from the whole community for certain period of time. So, if you happen to see a male proboscis rambling all by himself in the forest, he might be one of them - the losers. They’d be living in a dreadful solitary. That was a risk they had to take for challenging the leader’s position.
It is quite amusing to say that a challenger has to wait for the leader to get old and weak before he could outpower him and kick him out of his position. But having a long life-span, I’m afraid it would be too long of a wait.
OK, being a polygamous husband monkey with dozens of wives around him all the time, one might wonder if he could keep up with all his wives sexual desires. Oh well, the answer lies here.
THAT thing of his is always on a hard-on mode 24 hours a day! He sure can mahh horr??
A group of proboscis monkey’s enthusiasts had wanted to know the secret behind this constant hard-on that they decided to dedicate some of their time in doing some research on it. I mean, of course we all want to know their secret. If they can inflict it on human, more marriages will be saved.
I’m still waiting for the results of their research.
My arrival to Labuk Bay Resort was welcome by an erratic furry little thing that came rubbing up against my feet when I made my entrance at the stairs. I had almost sure it was a cat when I noticed that it was actually - an otter!
He kept following us around, even when we went to a little tour in the mangrove area. He kept showing off some acrobatic movements along the way. It wasn’t long before I grew fond of this lovely little creature. Errrr, not really little anyway.
The landlord calls him Hanyut (drowned), referring to how he as a baby otter was struggling to stay afloat in a strong river current in the swamp area off the resort when he was found. He was saved and brought back to be what had since become a major part of Labuk Bay’s attractions.
Some tourists even kept coming back for him. He was so hugely popular that somebody was said to have offered a staggering RM 30,000 for a deal of buying him. The offer was turned down.
He even politely 'escorted' us to the cab. I kept imagining coming back to Labuk Bay Resort expecting him to welcome me at the entrance again.
But news of him that got to me recently had struck me with both horror and disgust. He was stolen by a visitor and ended up being on the dishes of some exotic food enthusiasts! Or, shall I call 'em maniacs? A story was told that his friendliness had killed him. He was last seen jumping and trying to get free through the windowpane at the backseat of a car. A police-led search had tracked the culprit down. By then, it was too late. Even the RM 100,000 lawsuit that followed was too late to save him.
I’ve always considered myself an exotic food enthusiast but I can never imagine why anybody would kill such a lovely and precious living creature such as Hanyut just for some lust fulfillment.
It is just so horrible and unthinkable. Poor Hanyut... :-(
Note: Labuk Bay Proboscis Santuary is some 45 minutes drive from the town of Sandakan in Sabah and about 20 minutes from the world-famous Orang Utan Rehabilitation Center of Sepilok. Coming in through a junction at the Mile 21, the road can be so mind-blogging it'd be very easy for you to get lost in the wide expanse of palm oil plantation area. Just look for and follow the signboards along the way and you'll be alright.