While at the Water village we notice somebody way out in the water with a fishing net. This is the way he was catching fish.
We were shown what he had caught, and were very surprised at the size of the Fish, as at home, we would have to throw them back into the Ocean because they were too small to keep!
Orangutans live 99% of their lives in the tree tops. They do not call any one tree or group of trees home, but are fairly nomadic, searching the jungle for the ripe and succulent fruit. In mid-afternoon the orangutans thoughts turn to the problem of where to spend the night. Each orangutan will find a likely tree and begin to prepare a nest. The orangs then commence the breaking of many branches and the building of nests. It is truly incredible to watch an orangutan tear apart the upper reaches of a tree and build his or her nest. The orangutan may stay in the nest a couple nights, but they build on average a couple hundred nests in a year. I wonder if the nest building helps the trees thrive as a form of pruning.
Ok, I know that all animals are great and we should enjoy all of them for their own unique talents and so on. But really, macaques are a bit like the rats of the jungle. They are scavengers and not polite scavangers. Every day the macaques would hone in on the orangutans feed. They would get impatient and force the issue before the orangs were done with their meal.
There was a dominate macaque male who was particularly obnoxious. He would strut around the feeding platform and swat away the smaller macaques like soccer balls (they would go flying end over end into the rush when he made full contact.) Some days the male macaque would get up the nerve to challenge an orangutan. Now, orangutans are laid back, but there is a limit to their patience. On one occasion when the male macaque crossed a primate boundary he got smacked right on top of the head by a disgruntled adult orangutan. I'm sure he saw stars for several minutes. Orangutans are unbelievably strong, they can crush a coconut with their hands. So it stands to reason that they could also crush a macaque skull with their hands, if so inclined.
Orangutans are arboreal animals. They are perfectly comfortable in the trees. They nest each night in the jungle canopy hundreds of feet off the jungle floor. Much of their food is found in the upper reaches of the jungle trees and there is no predator (other than man) that can harm the orangutan in the trees. Seldom will you spot an orangutan on the floor of the jungle. It is a dangerous spot for them. Not only are they slow and cumbersome walkers, but there could be a tiger around the next bend (well not these days, but historically tigers would have been a natural enemy of the orangutan).
My closeup was of this fellow's feet.
I recall this male orangutan as being a loner. He is a male who was not dependent on the food, but he came down in the afternoons to visit one female and her infant. Presumably he was the father of the infant. Most full grown male orangutans are solitary creatures and keep to themselves. They are not nearly as social as you might think.
We viewed casts of orangutan hands and feet at the visitor center. They are essentially identical. Depending on how you look at it, the orangs have four hands or four feet. Probably closer to hands since the digits seem to work more like fingers than toes and the orangs have a very difficult time walking on any of their extremities. They are climbers, not walkers.
Watching the orangutans, you just get a sense of how darn close they are to humans in their habits and emotions. They can be extremely affectionate to their young, they can show anger and frustration toward the macaque monkeys who move in on their grub and they can be downright silly. In fact, I think juvenile orangutans have perfected the art of goofing off. No doubt that they would fit right in at any junior high school.
RESPECT THE FOREST
RESPECT THE ORANGUTAN
The orangutans seem to understand these concepts...does mankind?