December 20, 2021
Leap into Adventure
- as seen by -Mike Allen
Some of my earliest childhood memories took place at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo. Those experiences inspired me to pursue a career working with wildlife. I remember going to the zoo’s Jungle World when it first opened. In the second major exhibit amidst the mangrove swamp was a troop of proboscis monkeys (Nasalis larvatus). As a kid, I didn’t realize how amazing and special they were. In all honesty, I didn’t develop an appreciation or interest in primates until college when I started taking classes in primatology.
In February of 2019, I took a trip to the other side of the world. After a few days in Singapore, I headed to the Kinabatangan River on the island of Borneo in the Malaysian state of Sabah. In the early morning and late afternoons, we would head out to look for wildlife, especially orangutans and proboscis monkeys, from boats on the river.
Proboscis monkeys live in harem and bachelor troops in the trees along the riverbank. I worried that I had come a long distance and wouldn’t see anything, but it was easy to notice these sizable primates as they leapt between the branches of neighboring trees.
I took this photo of a female proboscis monkey and her infant at the precise moment of silence before they crashed onto an upcoming branch. I like this picture enough that I have a copy of it printed on an aluminum panel hanging in my office at WCS’s Queens Zoo. It’s the only non-human primate piece of artwork in my office.
I hope that visitors to our WCS parks feel as inspired as I was and continue to be.
Canon EOS Repel T6