Uncle Tan’s Neighbours
Uncle Tan’s Wildlife Camp is in the middle of a secondary forest. Everything is back to basic. I like the not-so-commercialised setting of their camp. As there is no power supply from 12 midnight until 6 PM, do not expect to watch TV or taking hot shower there. They will provide enough food to make you full, so you won’t eat the wildlife. All the guides are locals, they can converse well in English and are very good in spotting wildlife.
Looking at the “scoreboard” below, Malaysian is not even in the Top 5 visitors. Most Sabahan may not know this camp, but it is one of the favourite Borneo destinations of backpackers, especially UK. Many are repeated visitors and know this place by words of mouth. I will come back next time, with a 300mm telephoto len!
Uncle Tan’s Wildlife Camp is surrounded by dense forest. So… besides human visitors, you will see wild animals all the time. Some are just passing by, many are regular visitors. If you trek out of the immediate camp area, you can observe more wildlife such as Orang Utan. If you are lucky, you would see rhino. No worry, leech is not common around the camp area.
In the first morning, someone broke into a hut and stole the food. They are the Macaque monkeys. After the trip to Tabin, I had learnt that bringing food to the wild could attract unwanted attention. These monkeys are smart but naughty. They know how to open the door, unzip the bag, and very interested in plastic bag… I followed one of the monkey groups to the wood nearby to take some photos. One of them sat on a tree branch just a few feet away from me, observing my every move.
As the name implies, this camp was established by “Uncle Tan”. He passed away years ago. Now the “new” Uncle Tan is Eugene Tan, the son of Uncle Tan. He took a lot of excellent wildlife photos, so many that he doesn’t have the time to work on all of them. You can see some of his works in the camp and web site. During wet season (Nov – Apr), the camp area would turn into a “wetland” and become very muddy. Because of heavy logging in Kinabatangan area, flood would happen in rainy period.
After I had my dinner in first night, I saw a big animal busy searching for food near the kitchen. “Wow! That’s really a big dog,” I thought. This was the first time I saw “Kum Kum”, a female bearded pig who visited the camp regularly, with her babies. According to Eugene, Kum Kum is the offspring of a bearded pig that they adopted years ago. Even though he was released to the wild, his 1st, 2nd generation always visited the camp. You can see them in the morning and evening. The visitors are so amazed by such “friendship” between the human and wildlife.
Other visitors include Monitor Lizard, which is mistaken as crocodile sometimes. Pygmy Squirrel, the smallest squirrel of Borneo. I also noticed a number of Birdwing butterflies like to gather on a particular tree in the camp. I wish to take more pictures, but my batteries are all running low…
Photos taken in Lower Kinabatangan, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo