Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Meet BJ, The Orang Utan of Bukit Merah.

Our second day itinerary in Taiping was to visit the Orang Utan Island at Bukit Merah. We had a good night’s sleep at the Flemington hotel, tucked strategically in the vicinity of the old and charming Taiping Lake Garden. The journey took about forty minutes by bus, long enough for some of us to have a quick nap after a hearty breakfast at the hotel.

“Ladies and gentlemen from the media. We have reached Bukit Merah Laketown Resort, the place where the Orang Utan Island is located” was the announcement made by our tour guide, Mr. Muhamad Nor, that woke me up from my morning nap.

Our bus passed the main entrance and eased itself through the panoramic winding road that led to the main complex. We gathered near the jetty for our boat tickets to the Orang Utan Island. It was scorching hot and Razak, the videoman from MyTourismTV generously offered to treat three of us to a Cornetto ice cream each, to which I gladly accepted. Thanks Razak. Shortly after, we were called and given wrist tags (instead of tickets) by the lovely Guest Service Executive, Ms. Jessica and were ushered to the two boats waiting for us.

A short ten minutes boat ride took us to our destination. There, we were welcomed by Dr. D Sabapathy, the CEO of Bukit Merah Orang Utan Island Foundation and after a short briefing, walked us through the 200 metres caged-walkway or ‘tunnel’, as they call it, where we could observe the orang utans roaming freely in their natural habitat.

“Orang utan, whose DNA is 97 percent identical to human, is the closest mammal to the human beings” said Dr. Sabapathy. “Their facial expressions, movements and hormonal cycles are similar to humans. A female menstruates when she reaches puberty and carries the baby for nine months while their average life span is 55 years” he further explained.

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