Tag Archives: Wildlife

The best wildlife posts and wildlife photography will be included in this section.

500 Camels in Bahrain

Photo tour: Royal Camel Farm in Bahrain

I’d seen camels before, but never this many, and never like this.

Business tourists visit Bahrain ask, are there camels in Bahrain? There’s lots of of camels in Bahrain, but the reason might surprise you. Here’s the quick story he shared:

My guide told me that the King of Bahrain (actually Sheikh Mohammed) wanted camels, and thus 500 camels were brought to what became the Royal Camel Farm in Bahrain. He decided to open up this Royal Camel Farm to the public. I’d never seen so many camels!

Camels in Bahrain at sunset

Bahrain consists of mostly desert, making it the ideal habitat for camels.

Feeding a camel at the Royal Camel Farm in Bahrain
Feeding a camel in Bahrain

Despite being called a camel farm, the camels here are not for eating. Sheikh Mohammed set up the farm to preserve the presence of the camel in Bahrain which, before the advent of the motor vehicle was the Bahraini’s foremost mode of transport. Indeed, the Arabian Peninsula has a huge cultural connection with the camel, and for the Bedouins of the past, the camel was revered as a sacred symbol of life amid the inhospitable desert. –Time Out Bahrain

posing with a camel in Bahrain at the Royal Camel Farm
posing with a camel in Bahrain
meeting the camels in Bahrain
this photo reminds me of the creature in Star Wars that they ride

I mostly just observed and took photos, but camel rides around the farm can be arranged.  You can also play with them, feed them, watch them, or take photos with them. If you’re feeling adventurous, there’s also the occasional sale of camel milk.

cute camels in Bahrain

Note, the post is called “500 Camels” because that’s what my guide/driver called it, but it looked more like 150 or 200. Either way it’s a lot of camels, and waaaaay more than I had ever seen.

so many camels in Bahrain! Royal Camel Farm

my guide shows some love to the camel in Bahrain
my guide shows some love to the camel in Bahrain

Royal Camel Farm in Bahrain

Visit Bahrain Royal Camel Farm info

Where is the Royal Camel Farm in Bahrain?

Junaibiya Highway in Al Janabiya (near Manama), Bahrain

Hours: open to the public every day.

Sunset at the Royal Camel Farm in Bahrain
Sunset at the Royal Camel Farm in Bahrain
Besides the spitting, the camels in Bahrain were very friendly!
Besides the spitting, the camels were very friendly!

Camel in Bahrain

This destination wasn’t even on my list of things to visit in Bahrain, but ended up being a highlight!  I trusted my driver a bit more to improvise from my prepared list, but that trust was short-lived. The next place he showed me was… the Bahrain King’s Parking Lot. I’m serious. I tell the quick story here.

Do camels really store water in their humps?

For some reason people learn that camels store water in their large humps, to allow them to live in desert climates. That’s not actually literally true; they store fat in their humps, but it is a crucial part of how camels bodies allow them to live in hot deserts. This video on how Camels store water explains it in just 2 minutes. Enjoy!

 

Baby Monkeys in Borneo!

Baby monkeys – Long-tailed macaques

What’s the only thing more exciting than seeing animals in the wild?  Baby animals in the wild! Check out these photos of baby monkeys – baby long-tailed macaques:

Baby monkeys - baby long-tailed macaque hanging on to the mother long-tailed macaque in Borneo | Baby monkey in Bako National Park, Sarawak region of Malaysia, Asia

I saw these Long-tailed Macaques in Bako National Park, in Malaysian Borneo. This below photo reminds me of the photos of monkeys in Bali.

Baby monkey - Photo of a baby long-tailed macaque hanging on to the mother long-tailed macaque in Borneo | Baby monkey in Bako National Park, Sarawak region of Malaysia, Asia
notice baby monkey’s little hands and feet grabbing on

These baby monkeys were so adorable that we almost forgot that they’re wild animals.

Baby Monkeys in Borneo - crawling

Long-tailed macaques are the most commonly seen type of monkey in southeast Asia; I saw them all over, from Indonesia to Cambodia to the Philippines. Male members leave the group when they reach puberty, according to Wikipedia.  Long-tailed macaques are also referred to as crab-eating macaques

They are opportunistic omnivores and have been documented using tools to obtain food, according to the American Journal of Primatology.

Baby Monkey protected by the parent in Borneo - Baby long-tailed macaques in Borneo, Bako, Malaysia

Baby Monkeys in Borneo - Baby long-tailed macaques in Borneo, Bako, Malaysia

These baby monkeys in Borneo were cute, but there’s competition for cutest baby wildlife from my Asia trip.  My southeast Asia trip has already produced opportunities to see baby elephants in Borneo, baby monkeys (macaques) in Indonesia, and baby apes (baby orangutans). Which set of baby wildlife photos did you like best?

Carrying her baby monkey in Borneo - Baby long-tailed macaques in Borneo, Bako, Malaysia

I also saw other types of animals up close as well – tarsiersmacaquesproboscis monkeyssharkspythons, camels, and more!

Asian Elephants in the wild

Facts and photos of Asian Elephants

Asian Elephants are incredible. So primitive, so old, and the baby elephants are so cute! We were on a river safari in Borneo when we saw a whole family of Asian Elephants (aka Asiatic Elephants or Elephas maximus).  After seeing them in the wild, I was really curious and learned some interesting Asian elephant facts. My photography is below, also with  Asian Elephant facts that I found interesting are below:

  • Elephants are the largest land animals living today. They’re massive!
  • If you thought human pregnancy was challenging – check this out. Asian Elephant pregnancies last 22 months, baby elephants can weight 260 pounds at birth.
  • At full size, male Asian Elephants can weigh up to 12,000 pounds (5400 kg)! Females weigh up to 9000 pounds.
  • Elephants typically live for 60 years in the wild (80 years in captivity).
  • Asian Elephants can be up to 10 feet tall at the shoulder. They’re much smaller than African Elephants in mass, but are taller.
  • They have up to 20 pairs of ribs and 34 caudal vertebrae (bones that make up their tails).
  • Asian Elephants have 100,000 muscles in their trunk!
    Asian Elephants have 100,000 muscles in their trunk!
  • Trunks are the single most important feature of an elephant, with 100,000 muscles in their trunk. It’s used for feeding, watering, smelling, breathing, drinking, touching, sound/communication, washing, and also for grabbing things.
  • Asian elephants have a fingerlike feature on the end of their trunk that they can use to grab small items (African elephants have two).
  • I noticed they don’t have the same number of nails on each foot so I looked it up. Asian Elephants have five nail-like structures on each forefoot, and four on each hind foot.
Baby Asian Elephants at Sungai Kinabatgangan in Malaysian Borneo
I didn’t realize it was a baby elephant until the adult elephants came up behind

Super smart! Elephants have incredible memories and, like many primates, have very large neocortexes and are thought to be very intelligent.

Hungry Hungry Elephants? Elephants eat roots, grasses, fruit, and bark. An adult elephant can consume up to 300 pounds (136 kg) of food in a single day!

  • Endangered: Since 1986, Elephas maximus (scientific name for Asian Elephants) has been listed as endangered as the population has declined by at least 50% over the last three generations. In 2003, the wild population was estimated at between 41,410 and 52,345.
  • Top predator: humans. That’s right, they’d be doing fine if not for poaching and deforestation.
Did you know: Asian elephants are known to be right or left tusked.
Did you know: Asian elephants are known to be right or left tusked. Elephant trivia

Did you know?   Elephants can be a “righty” or a “lefty”

  • Ivory tusks are used to dig for water  and rocks, to debark trees, as levers for maneuvering fallen trees and branches, for marking trees, as weapon for offense and defense, and as protection for the trunk.
  • Asian elephants are known to be right or left tusked. [this surprised me]

Close-up of an Asian Elephant in Malaysian Borneo in Sabah - Sungai Kinabatgangan - Visit50.com

Adorable Baby Asian Elephant in the wild in Sabah Malaysia/Borneo! Visit50.com
I never thought I’d find Baby Elephants to be adorable but look at it!
we were THAT close to the Asian Elephants
We were THAT close to the elephants on the Kinabatangan River in Sabah, eastern Malaysia, on the island of Borneo. It is the second longest river in Malaysia,
Baby Asian Elephant close-up, taken at along the Kinabatangan River (Sungai Kinabatangan) in Sabah, eastern Malaysia, on the island of Borneo. It is the second longest river in Malaysia, in Sabah, eastern Malaysia, on the island of Borneo. It is the second longest river in Malaysia - Visit50.com
Baby Elephant close-up – loved having my D-SLR lens to zoom in to snap this photo

I photographed the Asian Elephants on this page on The Kinabatangan River, located in Sabah, eastern Malaysia, on the island of Borneo. It is the second longest river in Malaysia. 

If you’re visiting, and are interested in the same adventure – I booked mine through Nature Lodge Kinabatangan. Note, they said seeing elephants is rare and unexpected. They typically spot crocodiles, monkeys, lots of rare birds, and occasionally an orangutan (but all the way up in the trees).

Additional resources: Trip AdvisorLonely Planet, Wonderful Malaysia.

I’ve often been asked, which camera should I buy to get photos like these?  I’ve been putting together a post to answer that here.

Slideshow – elephants (and baby elephants) in the wild! [flagallery gid=6 name=”Gallery”]

It wasn’t the first time seeing baby wildlife in my trip – the baby orangutans and baby monkeys in Borneo were adorable!  I also saw other types of animals – tarsiers, macaquesproboscis monkeys, sharks, camelspythons, and more! Thanks to Nat Geo, Wikipedia.

Meet the Macaques

Malaysian Borneo – The monkey I saw most often on my trip through Asia was the macaque. Long-tailed macaques are not shy (although sometimes aggressive; be careful!) and that made for some wonderful closeup photos like this one (below) from Bako National Park, an island in Malaysian Borneo.

Macaque monkey in Bako in Borneo - some readers suggested this pic as a cover photo for the next Lonely Planet
Cover photo for the next Lonely Planet Malaysian Borneo?

Another travel photographer said this wildlife shot of a long-tailed macaque (the monkey in the above photo) should be the next cover of Lonely Planet Borneo (Travel Guide). Perhaps! I’m really flattered by the compliment, but I need to thank the photogenic monkeys that were so kind to pose for me.

Getting this photo:  Shots like this are challenging, because this monkey didn’t pose for me, and macro shots aren’t compatible with motion and you can’t predict eye contact from wildlife. You need to be in the right focus to have the monkey crisp with the background blurred so it pops. In contrast, I love the composition of the lower photo, but I had to use my zoom so the depth of field is much more flat.

Macaque monkey in Malaysian Borneo on Bako Island
Surprised, or hungry?

Pronunciation – yes, the correct pronunciation for this monkey is actually Muh-kok. [Giggle giggle]

I saw plenty more long-tailed macaques on the cliffs of Ulu Watu, in Indonesia. Check out the photos here.

It wasn’t the first time seeing wildlife in my trip – the baby orangutans, baby elephants, and baby monkeys (macaques) in Borneo were adorable!  I also saw other types of animals up close – camelstarsiersproboscis monkeyssharkspythons, and more!

Wildlife section of my travel blog.

Lonely Planet Borneo (Travel Guide)

Proboscis Monkeys: Up close

Borneo’s Proboscis Monkeys

I was fascinated by Borneo’s Proboscis Monkeys! It was a rare chance to observe and photograph an endangered species in the wild. Proboscis Monkeys seem so human-like!  Imagine a monkey with a distinctive huge nose and a pot belly. They often walk upright (rare for mammals) and sit like humans sit.

The proboscis monkey name, Nasalis larvatus, literally translates to “long nose,” and you can see why (below):

Rare Proboscis Monkey - relaxing on a low branch  | Bako National Park in Borneo, Malaysia
Rare Proboscis Monkey – relaxing on a low branch, in Borneo, Malaysia

A male proboscis monkey’s nose can reach up to 7 inches in length!

Sometimes Proboscis Monkeys seem so human-like!  This proboscis monkey was frantically eating as if he hadn’t eaten for days! Take a look in this video clip from my time in Malaysian Borneo:

Bako National Park also has bearded pigs, which greeted us upon entering the island. When we heard a typical pig sound later in the day, we were surprised to hear these honking sounds coming from proboscis monkeys.

Proboscis monkeys live on a special diet of leaves, flowers and seeds of vegetation found only in rivers, mangroves, and peat swamps
Proboscis monkeys live on a special diet of leaves, flowers and seeds of vegetation found only in rivers, mangroves, and peat swamps
Female proboscis monkeys have much smaller noses - Borneo, Sarawak, Malaysia
Female proboscis monkeys have much smaller noses – Borneo, Sarawak, Malaysia

Orangutans are much more closely related to humans, but the mannerisms of proboscis monkeys made me stop in my tracks and want to observe them all day. I did.

Proboscis monkeys are proficient swimmers, using the webbing between their fingers to move quietly (so as not to attract predators, like crocodiles) using a form of dog paddle, and seem to like the mangrove swamps.
Proboscis monkeys are proficient swimmers, using the webbing between their fingers to move quietly (so as not to attract predators, like crocodiles) using a form of dog paddle, and seem to like the mangrove swamps.

I’ve added Proboscis Monkey facts throughout this page. Enjoy!

Habitat:

  • Proboscis Monkeys live almost exclusively in mangrove forests like the one in the above photo from Bako. They can also be found in lowland rainforests.
  • Proboscis monkeys are dependent on habitats with rivers and streams.
  • Proboscis monkeys sleep in trees. They prefer thick branches growing over water to protect themselves from predators.

    Proboscis Monkey eating leaves, in Borneo, Sarawak, Malaysia
    Proboscis Monkey eating leaves
  • Size: Male Proboscis Monkeys can be twice the weight of females. Males can be up to 50 pounds. Females are up to 25 pounds.
  • Protecting — proboscis monkeys only live in Borneo. It’s the only place they can survive.

From National Geographic:

The monkeys of the world are divided into two groups: the Old World monkeys of Africa and Asia and the New World monkeys of Central and South America. Geography isn’t their only difference however. Many Old World monkeys, like the proboscis, have long thick tails that help them balance while capering, crashing, and careening around the forest. In fact, the names of several monkeys in this family describe their distinctive appendages: stumptailed, pigtailed, and lion-tailed monkeys. In contrast, many New World monkeys, like the familiar spider monkey, have prehensile tails, used like hands and feet to help them grasp limbs, swing through the treetops, and even dangle upside down while eating.

I generally like National Geographic’s wildlife pages, but based on my experiences in Bako National Park, I disagree with Nat Geo in one key area on proboscis monkeys.

Common Name: Monyet Belanda
Genus: Nasalis
Species:
larvatus

Proboscis Monkeys are only found in Borneo, adding to the excitement.

Video clip closeups from my first encounter with Proboscis Monkeys in the wild from my time in Malaysian Borneo:

Here’s a video clip of Proboscis Monkeys strolling through mangroves:

Find more of my proboscis monkey photography from my time in Borneo here.

There’s more info on the rare Proboscis Monkey on Wikipedia. You can also read more on National Geographic‘s proboscis monkey site.

Whale Shark Snorkeling!

Swimming with Whale Sharks!

Imagine snorkeling with massive Whale Sharks!  They’re the largest fish in the sea, and they migrate right through The Philippines annually. It provided a perfect opportunity to not only see whale sharks up close, but get in the water and actually swim and snorkel with them. Wow. It was certainly one of the highlights of my trip!

whale sharks in the Philippines
impressive whale shark photo by Joe Newman

Whale Shark closeup in Donsol, in The Philippines How big are Whale Sharks?  Huge. The first one we saw while snorkeling was about 20 feet long; they can grow to the size of a school bus!  Average size is more than 30-feet and 20,000 pounds. They can grow much larger; a whale shark caught near Taiwan in 1994 was 79,000 pounds, and that’s not even the largest ever! (catching whale sharks is now banned)

Is a Whale Shark a Whale or a Shark?  It’s a Shark. It’s a whale-sized shark.  Rhincodon typus – the largest fish species still around (I just learned the term is “extant” – the opposite of extinct)

Whale Shark just a meter away in Donsol, Philippines
Imagine snorkeling and seeing this whale shark just a few feet below you!
How close were you?  Very close (see below photo). I was in the water swimming with whale sharks, and they were so close that I didn’t even see the whale shark at first because I was too close. I looked down and only saw cloudy water, but my friend Julian pulled me over a few feet so I was directly over the dorsal fin. OMG. The water wasn’t cloudy – those were spots on the shark about 5 feet below us. If I accidentally went vertical I could have kicked it with my fin! [see below photo]
Massive Whale Shark and snorkel fins
Notice the little snorkel fins at the top of this photo – we were this close to this massive whale shark!

Whale Shark Diving in Oslob, Philippines

photo by Adam Brill – he captured the mouth open

Is it safe??  Yes! They’re rather docile and aren’t bothered by humans swimming around them.
Whale Shark's dorsal fin - Donsol, Philippines
grainy close-up of the whale shark dorsal fin.
Were you in a cage? Nope! We went in the water with massive whale sharks without a cage. Lucky for us, they have no interest in eating us.
What do Whale Sharks eat? Lucky for us, their favorite meal is plankton and tiny fish near the water’s surface. They eat algae and microscopic plants.  Their mouths are 4-5 feet wide with 300 teeth (which play no role in eating). It’s a filter feeder – they leave their mouth open for small fish and the clouds of eggs and sperm during mass spawning.
closeup of the whale shark's mouth - I swam ahead to take this, which was a little scary
closeup of the whale shark’s mouth – I swam ahead to take this, which was a little scary
How fast are they?  They weren’t moving fast at all – slow enough that we went snorkeling with the Whale Shark for about 20 minutes before he swam off, and then found another for about 35 minutes. Reeeeally cool experience!
Whale Sharks have 5 large pairs of gills
Whale Sharks have 5 large pairs of gills. I was enamored by the pattern of bright spots
Snorkeling with Whale Sharks in Donsol, Philippines
Whale Sharks are also known as – Whale Sharks are called “butanding” in Donsol, Philippines, where I was. They’re called “pez dama” in much of Latin America. They’re called “Sapodilla Tom” in Belize, named after the area of the Belize Barrier Reef where they’re often seen. In Vietnam, where the whale shark often known as a deity, it’s called “Ca Ong.”
Whale Sharks have tiny eyes on the side of the massive flat heads
Whale Sharks have tiny eyes on the side of the massive flat heads

Where can you go Whale Sharks snorkeling?

 

We were in Donsol, a known migration area, but there’s lots of places to find, see, and swim with Whale Sharks. Near the US, I’ve read about sightings in Mexico (Isla Mujeres), Belize, Puerto Rico, Panama (Isla Coiba), Honduras (the Bay Islands), and more.

Other places to see whale sharks, according to wikipedia and the book Sharks of the World:  Thailand, the Maldives, Western Australia (Ningaloo Reef, Christmas Island), Taiwan, Tofo Beach in Mozambique, Sodwana Bay (Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park) in South Africa, the Galapagos Islands, the Seychelles, West Malaysia, islands off eastern peninsular Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Oman.

whale shark mouth open
photo by Elias Levy, who has lots of other great shark pics on his Flickr
When to go whale shark snorkeling in Donsol?
We went to Donsol in the Philippines. I was in Donsol in late March, which was ideal – the peak time to see whale sharks in Donsol is February through April.  Whale shark season is from December to May.
Who I went with:  I went with Gabbi (from Sweden) and met up with Julian and Christie (from Germany), and we met Sarah there. I traveled with Gabbi all over the Philippines, met up with Sarah to travel throughout Vietnam, and met Julian and Christie in Borneo and went on to meet up in Singapore and all over the Philippines. The four of us went on to meet up in Boracay, one of our favorite parts of our trips.  Awesome!
enroute to Whale Shark Snorkeling in Donsol, Philippines
Searching for whale sharks with Julian from Germany, Gabbi from Sweden, and Sara and Denmark
Whale Shark Snorkeling trip - Donsol, Philippines
Getting ready for whale shark snorkeling in tiny Donsol, in The Philippines
Swimming with whale sharks was an amazing experience – you’re swimming with whale sharks!  It’s definitely an experience you’ll never forget.
Whale Shark Snorkeling trip - between snorkeling sessions in Donsol, Philippines
The boat is specially designed for these whale shark snorkeling trips — we all get on this little platform and then drop in for snorkeling as soon as we locate a whale shark. Just as we jumped in someone yelled “Free Willy!” (from the movie)

maybe took a little too much
hmm… maybe I took a little too much
Learn how to photograph the distinctive patterning and scarring on whale shark here, which are used to uniquely identify individuals for long-term, mark-recapture analysis.
Here’s more info on going  swimming with whale sharks right in Mexico in Isla Mujeres (a short ferry from Cancun) – check out this post from Jack and Jill Travel.
More photos of whale sharks found here: 1, and here.

The 10 Best Animal Photos

Best Animal Photos of 2011

The top 10 Best Animal Photos of 2011 – incredibly cute photos from around the world.  It’s not my photography, but rather from some of the best animal photojournalism of the past year. They’re from everywhere from China and the Philippines, to Russia, Slovakia, and Germany. I loved this Ginger Orange Seal, and the chimpanzee nursing a tiger. Which were your favorites?

Ginger orange seal on Tyuleniy Island in Russia. Best Animal Photos of 2011
Ginger orange seal on Tyuleniy Island in Russia – Via: theuniblog.evilspacerobot.com
A baby hippo and his mother. Best Animal Photos of 2011
A baby hippo and his mother

Adorable animal photography.

2 yr old chimpanzee Do Do feeds milk to Aorn, a 2-month-old tiger cub. Best Animal Photos of 2011
2-year-old chimpanzee “Do Do” feeds milk to “Aorn” – a 2-month-old tiger cub. (Reuters / Sukree Sukplang)
A Kamchatka Brown Bear and one of her two three-month-old cubs share a kiss in Hamburg, Germany. (Reuters - Fabian Bimmer). Best Animal Photos of 2011
A Kamchatka Brown Bear and one of her two three-month-old cubs share a kiss in Hamburg, Germany. (Reuters – Fabian Bimmer)
Chengdu - 12 giant panda cubs lie in a crib at the Chengdu Research Base in China. (Reuters China Daily). Best Animal Photos of 2011
12 giant panda cubs lie in a crib at the Chengdu Research Base in China. (Reuters – China Daily)
one-month-old jaguar cub at the Leningrad city zoo in St. Petersburg, Russia. Best Animal Photos of 2011
one-month-old jaguar cub at the Leningrad city zoo in St. Petersburg, Russia

African spurred tortoise with two heads and five legs is displayed in Slovakia Best Animal Photos of 2011

Jonna Baquillas holds her pet, a rescued cat named Rue, for an event to benefit the Philippine Animal Welfare Society in Manilla, Philippines. (AP) Best Animal Photos of 2011
Jonna Baquillas holds her pet, a rescued cat named Rue, for an event to benefit the Philippine Animal Welfare Society in Manilla, Philippines. (AP)
A zoo keeper holds a 9-month-old baby orangutan orphan named Boo as he plays with a toy. (Reuters / Andrea Comas) Best Animal Photos
A zoo keeper holds a 9-month-old baby orangutan orphan named Boo as he plays with a toy. (Reuters / Andrea Comas)
7-year-old female elephant named Laxmi reaches with her trunk to touch her 13-month old daughter in India. (AP : Kevin Frayer). Best Animal Photos
A 7-year-old female elephant named Laxmi reaches with her trunk to touch her 13-month old daughter in India. (AP : Kevin Frayer)

If you like this, then go ahead and “like” it on Facebook, and leave a comment with which was your favorites.

Photos were curated from an excellent Buzzfeed post – see the full group of 50 animal photos here. Enjoy!

Monkey self-portraits

Monkey steals camera and takes Facebook-style monkey self-portraits

Who knew primates had photography skills?  A monkey stole a wildlife photographer’s camera, and then started taking pictures of himself, even smiling in the photos.  The crested black macaque monkey (black ape) swiped the camera and took monkey self-portraits at arms length, like you’d see on a 15-year old girl’s Facebook or Instagram page. It’s a monkey selfie!

monkey self portrait from this Sulawesi crested black macaque (the black monkey pictured), who stole a camera and took pictures of himself. It's a monkey selfie!
Sulawesi monkey steals a camera and snaps his new profile pic, a monkey self-portrait

It happened when wildlife photographer David Slater was visiting a national park in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, he left his camera unattended and a crested black macaque monkey grabbed it and proceeded take Facebook-style monkey self-portraits. Who knew “black apes” took pictures? It’s actually a decent monkey self-portrait!

If you’re curious, I found out some interesting facts about these inquisitive monkeys below:

Sulawesi crested black macaque / Black-Crested Macaque, Tangkoko National Park, Sulawesi, Indonesia By Sean Crane. Sulawesi crested black macaque
great shot of a Crested black Macaque. I love his expression
Some crested black macaque facts:
  • They’re promiscuous – with both males and females mating multiple times with multiple partners
  • They live in groups, and tend to either be all males or be 4:1 females to males.
  • Their diet is 70% fruits
  • They’re extremely rare and critically endangered
  • They’re found in Sulawesi, an island in Indonesia, and some tiny islands near it
  • Many names — crested black macaque, Sulawesi black macaque, Celebes crested macaque, Sulawesi crested macaque, or the black ape. Scientific name: Macaca nigra
Sulawesi crested black macaque / Black-Crested Macaque, Sulawesi, Indonesia. photo by Sean Crane
I love his expression in this portrait! photo by Sean Crane

I love his expression in the above monkey self-portrait; it reminds me of the closeups of long-tailed macaques that I snapped in Malaysia.

Macaques can be unpredictable (like these monkeys having sex while I was photographing the view of the Ulu Watu cliffs in Indonesia).

The sound got his attention and he kept pressing it. At first it scared the rest of them away but they soon came back – it was amazing to watch. He must have taken hundreds of pictures by the time I got my camera back, but not very many were in focus. He obviously hadn’t worked that out yet.

The facebook-style monkey self-portrait photos were actually taken by the monkey. They’re courtesy of wildlife photographer David Slater. The two (above) impressive photos on this page were by wildlife photographer Sean Crane.

Sulawesi crested black monkey self-portrait, worthy of Facebook or Instagram. It's a monkey selfie! Sulawesi crested black macaque. Visit50.com
photo from David Slater, taken by this crested black monkey

Other primates from my travels: I was amazed how the mannerisms can be so similar to humans. Although they’re technically less closely related to humans than orangutans, I was surprised by how human-like proboscis monkey behavior could be. The baby monkeys (long-tailed macaques) in Borneo were cute, but the tarsiers (aka “Gremlins”) still may have been the cutest primates I’ve seen in person.

Sulawesi Sulawesi crested black macaque / crested black monkey - facebook style monkey self-portrait. monkey selfie! Visit50.com
this shot reminds me of a teenage girl taking Instagram or Facebook selfie pics

Original story from Daily Telegraph. Thanks to Grace for sending me the story.

Monkey sex in Bali

We were enjoying the view from the cliffs of Ulu Watu in Bali – it was a beautiful moment until…a slight interruption.  Just then it occurred to me that I was surrounded by monkeys…and they seized the moment.  I was photographing a monkey on the edge of the cliff, when another jumped on her from behind. Then two other monkeys having sex too. Then two more. Where am I?? Surprise – monkey sex.

Where do baby monkeys come from? | Monkey Sex in Ulu Watu, Bali, Indonesia
Mommy, where do baby monkeys come from?

These monkeys were in their natural habitat, so anything goes. Including this first photo. What, you’ve never seen monkeys having sex?

Macaque monkey sex - it's a Discovery Channel moment at Ulu Watu, Bali Indonesia| Photo by Todd L. Cohen, Visit50.com
a Discovery Channel moment for the monkeys at Ulu Watu

Forget doggystyle – this is monkey style!

Edit: I didn’t realize Monkey sex was a slang term, as reported on Urban Dictionary – “The communal act of rough …wild …passionate…primatial fornication. Usually accompanied with various vocal tones and frantic leg hmuping usually seen and heard from orangutans. It is also customary to wear “Planet of the Apes” costumes in order to successfully portray monkey sex”

A read said it reminded her of this video from Gawker, with monkey sex on the hood of a car.

Mating behavior: These monkeys are macaques, which are known to have dominant males that try to monopolize females. Perhaps this is an example of that. Interestingly enough, “promiscuity benefits females and subor-dinate males. One way to escape monopolization by dominant males is to copulate in their absence,” which is called the “audience effect.” This is according to an article in the American Journal of Primatology. 

For more posts about monkeys, I’ve set up a link here.

At sunset, the monkeys take over

I just love this photo of a silhouetted macaque (monkey) on the dock of the island of Bako as the sun sets over the mountains in Borneo (Sarawak, Malaysia). It capped a wonderful day of wildlife photography.

At sunset, the monkeys take over. Bako National Park, Borneo, Malaysia

I’m always very critical of my work so I can improve. This isn’t a great technical photo (above) – the lighting and focus aren’t quite how I’d like them, but I just love it. Maybe you will too


Photos of these silhouetted macaque monkeys were from Malaysian Borneo, in the impressive Bako National Park.