Much has changed in Camp Leakey since my last trip. This is not surprising due to the decades that have passed, the major changes in the rainforest, and the tremendous pressure put on the environment by the logging industry and palm oil plantations.
If you haven’t already checked out the web page on my 1991 trip now is the time to do it for comparison purposes.
A side view of where 12 of us stayed in 1991.The bathroom is in the distance at middle of the picture, the entrance is to the right of the bathroom.
When you first arrive you might find this guy “hanging around” the kitchen. Any idea what it is?
Its a gibbon, the most acrobatic primate in this rainforest
A stop at the visitors center is a must to see the rich history of the area and to understand the challenge faced in trying to save the rain forest and its creatures
Its possible to encounter an orangutan at any time when walking around Camp Leakey. Your guide knows every orangutan by name, and will be with you at all times. The orangutans are relaxed when the guides are present and will walk right by you.
If you encounter a dominant male like this little guy (his name is Tom) you give them wide berth. Click on his picture to get an idea of how large his shoulders and arms are.
To get to the feeding station you walk through the jungle. The ironwood boards are there to help navigate the terrain during the rainy season when you might not be able to see the ground (not a good time to go).
Along the way you encounter interesting vegetation. You need to be careful what you touch because some of the plants cause a bad rash, yet do not bother the native dayaks. The biggest danger in this jungle is not the animals, its the risk of falling tree branches hitting you.
These are pitcher plants (insect eating) just after a rain
The black sap we are pointing to is from the rengas tree and is highly irritating to our skin
The nutrients do not go deep into the soil, so the roots of the large trees establish their footing by going more lateral
The root system can be extensive and go across the path
Its a rainforest so there are fungi aplenty
Camp Leakey (and the other feeding stations) is a popular attraction, so be prepared to be around visitors from all over the world. This European family was traveling together in one klotok.
Their mandatory guide is the dark haired man at the right
It is hot and humid, and even though you walk at an easy pace you need to stay replenished. Your guide will carry a backpack filled with bottled water.
At the feeding stations (Leakey, Tanguii, and Ambung) the semi-wild orangutans (those that were in captivity and have been released back into the wild but still hang around) are given nutrition. This is important because the forest is changing and they need help to survive.
The orangutans and various other freeloaders are fed milk, bananas, and pineapples in the morning and the afternoon. The park rangers carry this heavy load in a backpack as the orangutans start congregating. Once they see him its a free-for-all, unless the dominant male is around.
Click here to see lots of close up photos of orangutans, gibbons (and other critters), at all the feeding stations including Camp Leakey
This dominant male, named Doyak, usually arrives on the ground in contrast to all the other orangutans. When the sun hits him you can see how red he is. Click on his picture to get a better feel of how large he is.
He climbs on the feeding platform and lets it be know to all the other orangutans that are in the trees watching that he is the boss
Doyak put on quite a show of dominance. Click here to see him in action.
Click here to return to the Orangutans of Borneo home page.