Sunrise is as sudden as night. We have time for one final hike before the boat takes us away from Bako.
The bearded pigs watch us leave.
Fishing huts and mangrove forests flash by as the boat speeds towards its jetty.
Away from the river, the road runs southwards to Semenggoh, the first reserve I’ve ever visited where the authorities have apparently found it necessary to specifically ban gambling…perhaps there is a story behind that, but it’s unknown to me.
Semenggoh has orang-utans. They are orphans or rescues, restored to a semi-wild existence by the patience and respect of Semenggoh’s wardens. They roam freely through the forests here, but often return to feeding platforms, especially in seasons when fewer wild trees are fruiting.
Needless to say, everyone gathered under a small shelter listening to one of Semenggoh’s wardens give a safety briefing is hoping to glimpse an orang-utan. But they come at times of their own choosing, and there many smaller treasures here to observe too.
Longhorn spiders dazzle in the bushes.
And this – hopefully the novelty value can excuse the photo quality, for the little grey-brown animal on the left is a treeshrew, the first one I’ve ever glimpsed. They have a higher brain-to-body ratio than any other mammal. It is accompanied by a cream-coloured giant squirrel.
It may not have much cream in its fur, but ‘giant’ does fit; it is about 80cm long, including its tail.
They might be considered a supporting cast by some, but the shaking of the trees suggests that the stars are not far behind.