Tarsiers are nocturnal animals, so the typical way to see them is to go with a guide (foreigners must have a guide though we do see a birdwatching couple without a guide) at 4PM and walk to the "Tourist Tree" before sunset. This hollowed out banyan tree has three tarsiers who always come out at sunset to hunt and greet the primate papparazzi with popping flashes.
|A tarsier home|
We have a lot to see, so we head out at 4:00 AM where our first stop will be at the tarsier tree. As we walk in the pitch black jungle with flashlights our guide is searching trees for pythons and tarantulas. Unfortunately we do not find anything except a few mice frozen in the flashlight.
We arrive at the tarsier tree and wait. There are no other tourists here to compete for the tarsiers' attention. As we sit fruit drops around us from bats eating in the tree tops and we hear the squeaking of the tarsiers as they approach their home.
|My best tarsier shot|
|Mika's best tarsier shot|
|Calling the hornbills|
This is a group of eighty monkeys and one of three tracked by researchers. The Sulawesi Black Crested Macaque is only found in Northern Sulawesi and is critically endangered. Their population has been reduced by about 90% since the 1980's due to hunting. The meat is considered a delicacy and eaten for special occasions like Christmas* dinner while small ones are captured to become pets. Forest degradation from logging and slash and burn farming means that the monkey groups are competing for less and less resources. In Tangkoko Nature Reserve, researchers follow three separate groups of the black macaque from dawn to dusk to study and protect this monkey. The ones still living outside of the reserve are probably doomed.
We spend about an hour with the family of monkeys watching them forage, groom, play, fight and fornicate in their natural environment. With some jungle hiking now under our belts, we return to Manado and buy our airplane tickets for Kalimantan - Indonesian Borneo - to search out larger primates, orangutans.
|Get a room!|