Kinabatangan, Sabah, Malaysia
Kinabatangan-Safari: how to spot a western tarsierAbout 4 hours southwest from Sandakan we started a 3 day tour staying at a lodge directly on the riverbank of the Kinabatangan, the biggest river in Sabah, Borneo and second longest in Malaysia.
On boat safaris and tours through primary rainforests we could see many monkeys, birds, monitor lizards, snakes, hornbills and the big nosed, funny looking proboscis monkey that only can be found in Borneo. These already were highlights but the animal we saw at a night safari is the most amazing you can possibly imagine:a WESTERN TARSIER (Cephalopachus bancanus borneanus). It's very rare and can only be detected by natives with a trained eye. Tarsiers are not afraid of light but if you make loud noises or step on a branch they’ll jump away impossible to spot them again.
So we went stalking through the woods in the darkness trying to be as quiet as possible. Despite long clothing in the hot jungle we had to fight thousands of mosquitos and tried to avoid being bloodsucked by leeches.
Our watchers hadn’t seen a tarsier for a long time, when they suddenly signaled that they had seen something. And there it was! A western tarsier was sitting in the lower bushes clutching to a branch with its long fingers. But not enough, it was a baby (picture)! Even our guide Joe was so excited because he had never seen a baby himself in all the years doing the job.
It is the most exceptional animal I’ve seen on an exceptional journey through Malaysia. If you ever go to Borneo visit the Kinabatangan!