Monday, January 25, 2010

Cape of Monkeys

Last weekend, after the customary Mee Bandung Muar breakfast with the grandparents, we stopped by Tanjung Ketapang (Cape Ketapang) to go see the troops of monkeys there.

It was late morning and the sun in the east was shining brightly westward towards the west coast, so the faces of the monkeys were brightly lit by the golden rays of the morning sun.

Although it may be possible that feeding the monkeys is prohibited, we threw caution to the wind and decided to hand some snacks to the monkeys. My dad gave some of the groundnuts he bought at the roadside stall to some of the younger monkeys, because the larger more mature ones were more aggressive and might scratch or bite the hand that feeds them.

I noticed some mothering macaques sitting on the mangrove branches below. Early on they only looked at the other monkeys being fed, but after a while they joined in the feeding festivities.

This mother monkey had just finished eating a banana, with its newborn clinging on to her and occasionally suckling her teats. We figured that the baby monkey was newborn because the mother's bottom was wet with blood, possibly from giving birth.

A young one managed to snatch a pack of spicy chili peanuts and was opening the plastic packaging using its teeth. The monkeys here have seemed to take a liking to human food; evident from them not refusing even the spiced or processed ones.

The young macaques tend to gather together and fight over food that was thrown at them, and they gobble the food quickly and keep them in a pouch under their jaws (like chipmunks) before an adult male comes. Once an adult male approaches, the young ones disperse, either out of respect or fear.

After the young monkeys dispersed, this large male got to enjoy a large piece of sugarcane all to himself.

The female monkeys, especially the mothering ones, were not so aggressive. My sister Kim felt no hesitation taking a photo close to a mothering monkey eating a starfruit.

The young ones even know how to beg.

Either their mothers didn't teach them table manners, or they're afraid of the larger ones hogging all the food, so they stuff their faces with whatever was presented to them, not even taking the time to chew. You can see the pouch under their jaws filling up with unchewed food as they grabbed and gobbled the snack from the palm of the feeder.

As we walked to our van to go home, we passed by this large male 'drunkard' having a can of drink all to himself. The monkeys are so accustomed to the food and beverage we humans consume that I came to realize that their mannerisms have started to resemble some of our own (opening a plastic packaging, drinking from a can, etc).

I left Tanjung Ketapang with hopes that someday I'd have procured a longer lens before coming to shoot (photographically) these wonderful (not so) wild primates of the southwest mangrove beach of the Malay Peninsula.


P/S: You can go here to see all my other monkey posts.
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