For the last month I have been in a small village in Sumatra, teaching at a local school. And whenever I had a day off, I headed into the nearby National Park in search for animals!
There has been so much to do and to see, that its only now, that I am waiting at an airport for a connecting flight, that I have time to report back on what I have seen!
Its called Gunung Leuser National Park. And its not an easy trek. All day up and down the mountains in thick dense forest, plus the rainforest weather. It was a great workout, exhausting but so worth it!
Reptiles and frogs:
We saw some pretty huge monitor lizards, they even swim along side you in the river!
There was a juvenile flying lizard too which was pretty awesome.
One of my favourite things was this lovely little chameleon, with its huge eyes and stripes tail. I was too excited for words!
We also carried out mini night time treks to find snakes and frogs. We found a beautiful viper hanging out in a tree. We were tempted to catch it, but realised it was possibly venomous and we were probably a few too many pints in.
The bat cave was bloody awesome! Full of fruit bats and massive spiders and frogs! As a bone geek I noticed the floor was covered with bat skeletons, pretty well preserved. I had to fight temptation to collect one to pair with my frog skeleton at home.
It was fantastic seeing them! Orang-utan in Indonesian means people of the jungle and you can really see why!
As great as it was seeing them, at times I had mixed emotions. Some of them were previously in captivity and had been released, meaning that they almost too comfortable to be around humans.
Even so, it was encouraging to see lots of baby ones! Unlike a few of their mums, these babies were born wild they don’t like to be around humans as much and they keep their distance.
We managed to spot a huge male orang-utan. The males tend to be solitary so he was just hanging around on his own.
…Every thing in the National park was Brilliant but there was one thing I was really keen on seeing.
Ever since I worked at the zoo and met a certain gibbon called Jimmy, they have been my favourite primates and I really wanted to see them in the wild.
The first few times we went into the jungle though, we didn’t see them, but we heard them calling from time to time.
So one morning we decided to set off really early to improve our chances. The gibbons make a lot of noise until about 11am so we followed the sound of their calls as quickly as we could. We got to an area where we could tell that they were close, but they were just out of sight. It was a little disappointing but I was happy enough to have just heard them.
But, Later on in the day as we were heading home, we stumbled across a whole family of them, swinging along, with babies! I was so excited I clearly couldn’t hold the camera very still. But it made my day.
And now, I am leaving Sumatra. It has been so brilliant, the people, the animals – I instantly felt like part of the family. It feels like it has been my home for years. I will really miss it here, but I will never forget the beautiful backdrop of mountains, trees and blue skies.
Terima kasih Bukit Lawang
From Lesung Pipi x