After Semenggoh we travelled the short distance to the Forest Department Herbarium where we had a fascinating time speaking to staff, such as researcher Noorhana here with Amalia, and having a close look at the herbarium sheets of the plants we have met, and visiting the living collection.
Everyone found it really interesting and Amalia has fallen in love not once but twice. She has found her future career – working in a herbarium, and found her very special species – Dimorphorchis lowii (bellow)
Two very good choices. More on Dimirphorchis lowii when we get home.
Our first stop this morning was the Semenggoh Wildlife Sanctuary, South of Kuching. The Sanctuary is a large forested area with a botanical section attached to the offices. It opens from 8-10am and again 2-4pm to allow visitors the chance to see the Orangutang that live there. Most of the animals have been rescued from areas (often cleared for Oil Palm) where they have come into conflict with humans away from the forest, but an increasing number have been born in the sanctuary.
As we walked into the forest Orangutang began to appear and a number of them made use of the feeding station supplied by trusted guides.
I was worried that the sanctuary may be more of a zoo but it was clear that the Orangutang are very much wild and only use the feeding station if they fancy it. Apparently there are several times when none appear especially when there is lots of fruit on the trees.
The relationship seemed similar to the one I have with the birds in my garden who use my feeder but otherwise do their own thing.
Today’s orchid of the day is one we found abundantly on the rocky plateau of Bako National Park. The habitat here is karangas or heath forest with very little soil and scrub dominated by Erica species.
The small trees had a number of Dendrobium and bulbophyllum species but Bromheadia finlaysonianum is a terrestrial with a stiff pride drum like stem about a 80cm tall topped by a thin flower spike which clearly produces lots of short lived flowers over a long period. We saw lots of buds just opening (possibly for night pollination) some with a rare pink colour.
The species is sometimes grown as a tropical garden plant and is one I would like to get to know better.
Today we will visit the Dendrobium anosmum reintroduction area and hope to see Orangutang.
When at the Cultural Village today we had the fortune to bump into our third primate, a Long Tailed Macaque. This one is a male!
A few of us finished another amazing day with a visit to the laundrette. With a range of colours and whites all heading into one machine it was decided two .. or even three washers on at the same time was the best idea. Sorting clothes for tumble drying a bit concerning at first but soon got to grips with clothes labels.
Ahh.. clean clothes!