Bilit Rainforest Lodge (BRL) is reached by bus from Sandakan, and is the gateway to hundreds of kilometers of Lower Kinabatangan riverways and jungle secured from an abandoned palm oil plantation in the state of Sabah, Malaysia. Accommodations are cabins along wooden walkways, surrounding a restaurant, lounge, and souvenir shop. BRL also operates a tour company (Tropical Gateway Tours).
Before breakfast this morning, we took a two-hour boat trip upriver. In addition to lots of Proboscis and Macaque monkeys, we saw a crocodile, several monitor lizards, a tree snake, two kinds of kingfishers and horn-bills, many egrets and herons, and a couple of serpent eagles.
The middle of the day in the jungle is not much good for anything other than lunch and relaxing. Without an Internet connection, we turned to watching videos of the wildlife here, reading Lonely Planet guides, and deleting duplicate and poorly-taken photos.
At 4pm, we loaded back into the river boat, and headed 15km upriver to see what we could find at a place called Oxbow Lake. Passing the familiar colonies of macaques and proboscis monkeys, we encountered snakes in trees, a third variety of monkey, a very large crocodile, and finally - a very large orangutan.
Orangutan means "Orang" (man) "Utan" (of the forest). We are called "Orang", with another ending (I've forgotten) which means "man outside the forest". We spent quite a bit of time watching the big guy while he sat in the crook of a large tree along the river. Our guide indicated that it appeared he was settling into this location, as the sides of his face were beginning to stretch out (to make him look meaner to other males), and the hair on his back was thinning. As we left, he bellowed to the surrounding female orangutans that he had arrived. The hope is that they will respond favorably, and there will be a greater chance of their species avoiding extinction.
To see all of the photos taken today, click on Friday, Mar 9th, Bilit Rainforest Lodge, Sabah, Malaysia.