Monkey translocation

Posted by Michael Starbuck on 9th Feb 2012

Last month Matang staff were called to help a proboscis monkey that had been sighted close to the stadium in Kuching city. Driving to its location, we had no idea what we were going to see – young or old, male or female, wild or perhaps someone's escaped pet.

We were hoping it was not the latter – proboscis monkeys can be very hard to care for in captivity, as their dietary requirements are very specific. They are folivores, eating leaves of plants only found in mangrove or peat swamp forests. Ingesting complex sugars can kill them, as their digestive tracts cannot process these compounds.

If animals have been kept as pets, it is incredibly difficult to simply release them back into the wild, as in captivity they quickly become dependent on the easily provided food, they habituate to the routine imposed by the humans keeping them and they lose their fear of people. Unfortunately in the media the process of rescue and release to wild is often portrayed as being carried out in a couple of quick and easy steps, but this is often to satiate the public's enjoyment of success stories with happy endings rather than divulging the complexities of rescue and rehabilitation. There are also issues such as disease transmission to consider.

Thankfully, this proboscis monkey was a wild male, perhaps driven out of his troop by a stronger male or perhaps just wandering too far in search of food. Proboscis monkeys live in large troops, mostly composed of females with their offspring, with just a handful of males. It is the adult males that possess the huge noses this species is famous for. Both males and females have somewhat of a pot belly, due to the incredibly long digestive tract required to process and digest the plant material they consume.

On paper, these monkeys sound ridiculous, and it is by only seeing them in real life that their majesty is so apparent. Matang staff were able to easily trap this male in a carry cage and prepare him for relocation to a suitable habitat.

He took a journey in a car, then on a boat, to Kuching Wetlands Park, the same site where Boboy the macaque was released two years ago, along with other macaques a few months ago. This area has wild proboscis monkeys in situ, there is plenty of suitable foliage for consumption and due to the swampy nature of the habitat, there are no human settlements; in other words, an almost perfect area for relocation of this monkey.

We hope he has negotiated his way into another troop and is settled into his new home. Volunteers often take boat trips in this area as it is good for spotting wildlife, so hopefully he will be among the animals spotted in the future.

Natasha Beckerson


Share this Article...

Share this article with your friends and followers by using the social media buttons below.


Leave a Comment...

Wanting to add something to this story or just let us know your thoughts? Just leave your comments below. Please be aware that all comments will be moderated: abusive behaviour or self-promotion will not be allowed.

500 characters remaining

Has this blog inspired you to volunteer? If so, why not enquire today? Simply fill out an enquiry form, and allow a member of our travel team to assist with your query! Please note that blog comments are not monitored by the travel team, so any questions related to bookings may be missed.


Featured Blog Arcticles


Featured Videos


Experience The Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary

See what you could get up to as a volunteer at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary! This volunteer project offers you the chance to get up close and personal with some of the country's most iconic species.

Discover The Great White Shark Project

Come face to face with one of the world’s most misunderstood predators whilst aiding great white shark conservation. As a volunteer, not only will you get the incredible opportunity to dive with sharks, but you will also assist the team in raising awareness of the great white as you work alongside tourists and local school children to provide them with knowledge of the local environment and the importance of living in harmony with South Africa’s marine life.

Volunteers Review Their Experience at the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary

Volunteers talk about their recent experience at the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary in Borneo.

Latest Blog Arcticles


Achievements at the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Project in 2022

Achievements at the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Project in 2022

After 2 difficult years, we finally welcomed volunteers...

Merle’s Orangutan Experience at Samboja

Merle’s Orangutan Experience at Samboja

Merle shares her experiences from her time spent...

An Invasive Species: The Lionfish

An Invasive Species: The Lionfish

Many invasive species have made their way to all corners of...

Sun Bear Update From Samboja Lestari

Sun Bear Update From Samboja Lestari

After a lot of hard work by the June 2022 volunteer group,...

The Latest From The Great Orangutan Project!

The Latest From The Great Orangutan Project!

The Great Projects volunteer coordinator, Jess, is...

An Update from the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Project!

An Update from the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Project!

Samboja Lestari welcomed back volunteers this month, and...

Kathy & Drew's Great Gorilla Experience

Kathy & Drew's Great Gorilla Experience

Kathy and Drew joined The Great Gorilla Project in January...

Raja Ampat Diving Project - Magical Manta Ray Moments!

Raja Ampat Diving Project - Magical Manta Ray Moments!

Manta ray season is at its peak at the Raja Ampat Diving...


Where you can go
Contact Info
UK Office
The Great Traveller Ltd,
3 Dairy Yard
Star Street
Ware, Hertfordshire
SG12 7DX
United Kingdom

Opening hours:
   Mon-Fri 8:30am–5:30pm
   Sat 10am-4pm

T: +44(0) 208 885 4987