Proboscis Monkeys: Big Nosed Beauties | Borneo Jungle Diaries (S02E01) | SZtv

Deep in the island of Borneo, in the state of Sabah, along the banks of the mighty Kinabatangan river, is a research centre where a team of dedicated scientists live. Bound together by a single mission – to save the wildlife of Borneo. We just saw the elephant and it’s now heading its way back to the jungle. They’ve given the cat anaesthesia and now they’re going to do measurements and to safely collar it. They live a life most could not imagine – racing tropical storms, fighting unforgiving rainforests all in the name of conservation. This is Borneo Jungle Diaries. Early in the morning, as the sun comes up, animals begin to look for a place to rest for the day. But not me. My day is just beginning. My name is Alex Alexander I am an actor and a student from Sabah. Over the next month I’ll be stepping out of my comfort zone and into life at the Danau Girang Field Centre. Attempting to keep up with the scientists as they battle the elements to conduct their crucial research and protect the animals they love. It’ll be an adventure unlike anything I’ve done before… And for my first taste of jungle life I am in for a treat… Today we’re off to find some of the most unusual and famous animals in Borneo Borneo is home to up to 21 primate species. From the adorable slow loris and cheeky macaque to the lively red leaf langur and the famous orangutan. But there is one that is so unique that it baffles the mind. The proboscis monkey. Endemic to Borneo, these monkeys live in harem groups of up to 32 individuals, all dominated by a single alpha male. These animals are unlike anything else in the world. Who better to take me out on my first trip than local primatologist, Maz. We’re out on a mission to find proboscis monkeys using thermal cameras. Shall we do it? Yes let’s do it. Let’s go. My name is Amaziasizamoria Jumail and people just call me Maz and I’m from Kota Belud, Sabah. I work on primates, basically just working on the methodological work. From a fundamental science perspective it is very interesting to know the population of primates for the understanding of their ecology and also the conservation. The conventional way of counting primates is by eye. My study is focusing on adding the thermal camera. It’s not rejecting the conventional method but just adding maybe one more technique. In the long term I hope that this technology would be very useful for the other researchers. The biggest threats of primates are habitat loss and deforestation. So what we are gonna do now is try to look for the proboscis monkey on top of the trees. Mark the sleeping sites and then we’ll go back tomorrow morning and then try to do the thermal imaging survey. Towards the end of the day proboscis monkeys settle down for the night in their sleeping tree along the river. The tree they choose changes every night. We need to find them as they are settling down for the evening so we can mark the spot on the GPS. Oh there’s some movement over there. I hope they’re proboscis monkeys. Oh there’s one over there. Alex, do you wanna see it? I can’t see it. There, on that tree over there. Can you see that? Yes I can see it! It’s just sitting there doing nothing. That is amazing. So is this the group we’re going to come back and see tomorrow morning? Yeah. So we have the location, so now we can go back to the centre and then come back tomorrow morning at 5am. That is very early. With the monkey’s sleeping site plotted on the map we headed back to the centre. Which gives me some time to take you on a quick tour of our jungle home – the Danau Girang Field Centre. Established in 2008, this centre for scientific study is the rainforest residence for a number of local and international scientists. Let me show you around… That’s the jetty. This is the main path. And this is the main building. And this is the white board where all the plans are made, and that’s Miriam. This is the library. And this is where we eat. And… coffee. And this is the map of where we are. I wonder if we will go on any of these trails? I guess we’ll see. This is where we sleep. This is where the scientists sleep. This is the tower. This is the badminton court. This is the workshop. This is where we relax. That’s the Kinabatangan. And this is DGFC! Here’s an interesting fact about Borneo. The name Kinabatangan is often thought to mean Chinese river. Because in the 15th century, Chinese explorers arrived here and set up trading settlements along the river. However, the real meaning of the name is more meaningful. Aki means Grandfather. Na is used as the linking prefix and Batangan means river. Put it together and it becomes Akinabatangan. Then it was shortened to what we know now as the Kinabatangan. The grandfather of all rivers. It’s 5am now and it’s really cold. We’re going back to the spot where we saw the proboscis monkeys yesterday to set up the thermal cameras. Driving through the morning mist, we have to move quickly as the proboscis monkeys will be heading back into the forest soon to find somewhere cooler to relax for the day. So we’re here so now we can setup the camera. Thermal imaging cameras are used to pick up heat. The best time of day to see warm blooded animals like primates is in the cold of the early morning. So Maz is pointing the thermal camera at the sleeping site right now. Now let’s try to count how many of them we can see. So that’s one there. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. Why are we doing this by the way? It’s very important for the primate survey because visually it might be quite hard to see them and by adding this thermal camera they can be detected easily. Wow this is amazing. What we’re doing right now is just part of protecting these animals here. Yeah exactly. So what the scientists in DGFC are doing is just amazing. Getting an insight into Maz’s work to protect our primate species I already feel like I’ve learnt a huge amount. Especially about our famous proboscis monkeys. But my adventure has only just begun… I can only imagine what the rest of the scientists will have to show me. Ah, got one, let’s go. Did you pick up something on your radio? These young people are all working extraordinarily hard to find ways to protect the animals that are so important to Sabah and the rest of the world. This is going to be one of the wildest months ever and I cannot wait!


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