The Parish Church of St George the Martyr, Waterlooville


On 26th September Paul Bowers and his wife Sue gave us a talk and slideshow entitled Images of Borneo and its Orangutans.

Paul has made a bucket list and this trip was one of the things on it he wanted to do. He is retired and made this trip with Sue about 10 years ago.

Borneo is now known as Malaysia. They soon got to know the other people in the group, and one lady in particular named Vanessa. She was always saying “I can’t see any animals”! They tried to tell her that perhaps it was because she spoke too loudly and frightened them away!

Sepilok is in North Borneo and its Rehabilitation Centre was set up with the aim of helping Orangutans to learn to survive in the wild.

Wild Orangutans are only found in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra. They spend most of their time in the trees.

The Barbay Macaque Monkey species is easily recognised. It is yellowish brown to grey with a  lighter underside. Its face is dark pink and its tail measures anywhere from 4 to 22mm. Females are smaller than males. Paul has since been back to Borneo in November 2012 for three months and he has adopted a Monkey called Sogo.

Paul’s first trip with Sue was to Bako National Park. They saw some Proboscis Monkeys which have extremely long noses which are very attractive to the females. The longer the nose the more appealing to the females.

We learnt from Paul’s talk that monkeys with tails can jump, but the Orangutans swing from tree to tree.

The Orangutans can be about 5ft tall in height, and as Paul is 6ft 3 he said that he must have seemed to be a giant to them.

The female Orangutans live to 30 or 32 years of age. They might only have 2 or 3 children in their lifetime. They only have one child at a time. When the child becomes 8 or 9 years old it will leave, then the female adult will have another baby, when that ‘baby’ becomes 8 or 9 it will leave and the adult may have another baby and so it goes on.

The other thing we were shown on the slides was one of the many colourful carnivorous tropical pitcher plants. Their prey usually consists of insects, but larger species occasionally catch lizards or rats.

We were also shown a kingfisher. It is much larger than the ones in this country and it was bright yellow. We saw slides of snakes. Paul asked us if we thought they were poisonous? We all thought that they might be. He did say that he didn’t take any chances, and treated each one he saw as venomous. There are around 160 different species of snakes in Borneo.

Other slides were of ants which are also much larger than here. Stick insects, spiders which can be as large as 6 inches across. Caterpillars were very hairy and looked soft to touch, but if you did brush against one, it could make you feel itchy.

For an hour or two each evening you can watch literally millions of bats flying overhead. They come out of the cave and fly across the sky to catch and eat as many mosquitoes as they can. It was truly a sight to see.

Another thing Paul learnt from the locals was that pointing at something was rude. If you had to point, then you had to use your thumb which was a little less rude.

Priscilla Barlow

Christmas Edition 2013

St George’s Ladies Group