Sukau Rainforest Lodge: Traveler Moments

Located in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo

Scroll through the photos below to see the moments that Andrew Coleman captured on his recent trip to Sukau Rainforest Lodge!

There are eight different species of hornbill in Borneo. These colorful birds are distinctive both in appearance and behavior as the females are sealed in a hollow tree while they are nesting and are fed by their male partners. Hornbills are of considerable cultural importance and abstract forms of their beaks can be found on many motifs of the indigenous Dayak people.

This mother and young orangutan were high in the trees right behind our lodge and were the first of many we saw in the wild during our stay. For the first two years of a young orangutan’s life, it is dependent on its mother for food and transportation. A baby orangutan clings to its mother while she moves through the trees. This youngster was just getting some freedom from his mother, climbing on his own a few meters away. Even when young orangutans are too old to be carried and fed by their mother, they may still remain close to her, eating, and resting in the same trees, until they are about 10 years old.

Orangutans get the headlines, but there are over 200 other mammals in Borneo. The proboscis monkey, complete with its prominent nose, is one of the 44 endemic mammals on the island.

Borneo is a renowned destination for birdwatchers, boasting over 600 species. There are many rare, endemic birds here, but we tended to gravitate to some of the more colorful species.

The name pygmy elephant conjures up images of a petite pachyderm, something akin to a miniature horse, but our guide assured us that the elephants of Borneo were nothing to scoff at. Still, we'd be hard pressed to find out for ourselves as these creatures are both rare and elusive.

We took the boat some 70 km up the river to a place where they had last been spotted when our guide saw a matted area at the river's edge. Before long, we heard them eating and stomping around in the brush. After an hour, we saw a glimpse of one through the thick rainforest. Mission accomplished, we had seen what most visitors to the area never get to see. But then, one came out to the river’s edge – then another, and another. Soon, we were watching 3 dozen elephants eating, drinking and frolicking by the river. These elephants had babyish faces and small, straight tusks, but were in no way diminutive in size or stature. It was once thought that they were feral, remnants of a herd brought to the island by a Sultan. It wasn't until 2003 that DNA indicated that these elephants were distinct from their Asian counterparts and merited protection to ensure their survival.

Leaf monkeys take their name from the lush jungle foliage that makes up the bulk of their diets. Endemic to the jungles of Borneo, red leaf monkeys are named for their shaggy, vibrant coat. They are rare to see along the Kinabatangan River, so we ventured out to an area where they are known to frequent.

The long-tailed macaque was one of the more common monkeys we encountered in Borneo. We saw them on the trees, on the riverbanks and in the jungle around the Lodge. Still, their expressions, like that of the baby macaque here, make you wonder whether you are watching them or they are watching you.

Though somewhat large, this stork billed kingfisher was a challenge to photograph as they were constantly on the move looking for prey. We were quietly floating down a small stream when this one came into view.

Read more about Andrew Coleman's trip to Sukau here

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