September 26, 2016
Meeting a Macaque
- as seen by -Alys Granados
Sunda pig-tailed macaques are one of the most photographed species by our camera traps in the forests of Malaysian Borneo.
The curious guy in this photo is a juvenile macaque, but a full grown male can weigh up to 34 lbs, and sport some impressive canines. Their size may not seem very threatening, but when in an aggressive state, macaques can look quite fearsome. We saw this first-hand while checking our camera traps a couple of years ago.
Walking off trail, our field crew stumbled upon an adult male a little more than 20 yards downhill. Somehow, we had to get past him, so we tried to increase the distance between us.
At first, the macaque stood still. Maybe he was confused by the sudden appearance of five hairless primates – our presence clearly irritated him. His fur stood straight out making him look much bigger (and scarier). The next thing we knew, he was charging in our direction. We rushed uphill and did not slow down until we were back on the main trail.
It’s now clear this was a bluff charge, given that he was outnumbered. But it was an intense experience nonetheless, making for one of the more memorable animal encounters of my time in Borneo.