FEW SARAWAKIANS MIGHT REALIZE THAT ONE OF THE RAREST MONKEYS IN THE WORLD can be found just a few hours drive from Kuching. This is the Bornean Banded Langur (Presbytis chrysomelas), sometimes referred to as the Sarawak Langur, and it is undoubtedly among Borneo’s most endangered mammals. Early accounts from the 19th Century indicate that this monkey was once common in the hills around Kuching, it’s loud chattering calls frequently heard in many of our local forests. However, over the past hundred years, impacts from rampant hunting and severe habitat loss have resulted in this species disappearing in over 95% of its original range. Now it can only be found in a few scattered populations in Sarawak’s national parks, with a total number of just a few hundred individuals. With continued threats, including a highway planned through one of their last refuges, the outlook for this beautiful monkey appears dire, and it may not be long before the sound of its voice disappears from our forests forever.
The Maroon Langur is endemic to Borneo and nearby Karimata Island, with several races occurring throughout its range. Like other leaf monkeys they spend almost their entire life in the trees, feeding on foliage, seeds, and some fruits.
A group of Silvered Langurs lounges in a beachside tree. This species is widespread in coastal Sarawak and commonly seen in Bako National Park
The distinctive orange color of the Silvered Langur youngster might help adults to keep a careful eye out for him until he grows older and is better able to look after himself.
With a background in biology and environmental education, wildlife photographer Chien Lee made the move from California to Kuching in 1996, fulfilling a life-long dream of living in the tropics. His images of South-East Asian nature have been widely published internationally and he continually strives to use imagery as a means of raising awareness about the astounding flora and fauna that we share this planet with.