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The Indigenous “Big Nose Monkey” in Borneo

It was late afternoon, a bright red tinge on the western horizon. Thin light penetrated the grove of trees, then reflected back by river water. From a distance, there was a lie with a branch hanging over the river. At a glance like a silhouette, a bunch of monkeys with long tails dangling. Our ship slowly approached the tree and the monkeys began to make noise due to our arrival.

Size of this monkey is bigger than long tail macaque. The color of his hair is brownish yellow with the dominance of grayish white around the hands, stomach, buttocks to the tail and thighs. This is the animal we are waiting for from this afternoon. It turns out that the afternoon is the best time to meet these animals on the banks of the river. After a day of looking for food in the forest, Proboscis monkeys always return to the riverbank and gather with their groups. They slept begged with their group. Based on research, Proboscis monkeys never left the river for more than 2 kilometers.

Proboscis monkey, Endemic of Borneo

Proboscis is an endemic primate of Borneo, more precisely the island of Borneo. Nevertheless, Proboscis monkeys cannot be found throughout Borneo. They prefer to live in lowland forests on the river banks. This is greatly influenced by feed sources. Proboscis monkeys only eat leaves and young hard-seeded fruits. Living in groups with one male and many females. Young males will leave their groups and start forming new groups. This monkey has a pretty good swimming ability. Between his fingers his hands are equipped with membranes so that they make it easier to swim.

I invited Ana and Hector up to the roof of our kelotok. From there Hector got the best photo taking perspective. Ana is getting busy with her camera. Two three times clicking, checking and showing the picture to me. Chuckling, she showed off a photo of a male Proboscis with his legs open, so that his pink genitals appeared.

Wildlife encounter by houseboat

In my opinion, there are 3 things that are most interesting when we observe Proboscis monkeys. First, a sharp nose. Males have very large noses. This nose functions to attract a partner. Females prefer large nosed males, perhaps this is related to genetic quality. In addition, the nose functions to make nasal sounds to intimidate opponents of other groups. Second, distended stomach. Proboscis has a complex digestive system to digest leaves. In addition, they need to eat lots of leaves to meet their nutritional needs. Third, the most interesting from the others. Males almost always show tense genitals (erection penis). It’s rather difficult to explain. In my opinion, this is done to draw pairs at the same time to show dominance. The female-dominated group structure certainly requires a tough male.

We decide to tie up our boat not far from the roosting tree – a tree where the Proboscis sleeping. Tonight, we sleep in the same place as the animals we admire. Breathe with the same air. We feel that this earth is the place of life for all beings. And therefore we must coexist harmoniously.

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