asia pacific photography


FOLIO III                        MONKEY/APE IMAGES

The subject of the third Borneo Portfolio is mainly a family of Proboscis monkeys (Nasalis larvatus). The Borneo Proboscis monkey which inhabits the mangroves is often seen around Balikpapan. On a river trip one can often see many families. Particularly at dawn and dusk, usually in the distance. Any attempt to get closer and these shy animals quickly flee. It is rare then to catch a Proboscis monkey. Of course one can shoot and shoot at them but this practice has been banned recently by the Dutch Government. There is of course  the dreadful practice of shooting a nursing mother with the aim of getting a young monkey – unfortunately the usual practice  amongst certain European hunters- which sees a usually uninjured young monkey torn from dying mother who tries to protect her young right up until the last moment with her body. The male proboscis monkey shown in Plate I, the structure of whose jaw makes him look like an old man, was caught when seeking refuge from a forest fire  in the paraffin factory at Balikpapan. After two weeks during which he languished in chairs he obtained some relative freedom in my garden. He was extraordinarily good natured, ate with relish, particularly bananas.

There follows more description.

Plate II shows a female proboscis monkey which was captured by some very agile Bugi people in the forest. When faced with danger proboscis monkeys, like Gibbons, often go into a state of spiritual or emotional paralysis. In captivity she had rejected her child but I was able to effect her release. She nurtured her baby following much the same principles as humans nurture theirs.

Plates III-XII are taken from a larger selection of shots I took of the baby being cared for by her mother and other young female monkeys who all play a role in raising young monkeys.

There is nothing specific to the images in the rest of the article.

Translated by Mark Henshaw
September 2007

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Research project on Dr Gregor Krause was begun in 2006 by Bernard Lilienthal, volunteer researcher, Photography Department, National Gallery of Australia.