The Endangered Proboscis Monkeys of Borneo


The Male Proboscis Monkeys use their huge fleshy noses to impress females and to intimidate rival mates.

It is extimated that around 6,000 individuals are still found in Sabah mostly along coastal river systems where suitable habitats still exists, with the highest concentration along the Kinabatangan River, which is home to around 100 groups of totally 1,400+ individuals.

I visited the Kinabatangan River for the 1st time in 1998, coming back almost every year as the nature experience there is just outstanding.

Young proboscis moneys are highly dependent on their mother for up to two years

Infant  Proboscis Monkeys are highly dependent on their mother for up to two years, this young fellow is around 12 months old.

Breakfasting with friends ...

Proboscis Monkeys live in organized harem groups consisting of a dominant male and two to seven females and their offspring.  Various groups often congregate near water at night to sleep.

Male with harem of Proboscis Monkey (Nasalis larvatus)

You often see batchelor groups as well.

Male Proboscis Monkey (Nasalis larvatus)

This handsome male was seen in Bako National Park in Sarawak, Borneo.

Unfortunately, Borneo’s most threatened landscapes are home to these highly specialized primates. The rampant clearing of the region’s rain forests for timber, settlement, and oil palm plantations has depleted huge tracts of their habitat. The fragmentation of the monkeys’ range means they are being forced to descend from the trees more frequently and often must travel perilously long distances to find food.

This young male is quite curious and not afraid of the wildlife paparazzo ..

Over the last 40 years, the proboscis monkey populations have plummeted.  They are currently protected and listed as an endangered species, but the continued habitat loss is still a great concern.

Source: The Natural History of the Proboscis Monkey, Natural History Publications (Borneo) 2011, John Sha.


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