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Proboscis Monkey


The monkey that "nose" all

     Found in the dark coastal mangrove jungles of Borneo, Indonesia, the proboscis monkey is an incredible primate known for their rather large nose. This nose helps amplify the vocalizations of male proboscis monkeys and may aid in sexual selection by females. The male is the only one with such an abnormally large nose, however, females also have large noses compared to other primate species. 


     The proboscis monkey is a social animal, living in groups of up to 60 individuals. Young proboscis monkeys can regularly be observed playing amongst the branches in groups of up to 4 youngsters. 


     These monkeys have a diet of mainly leaves and fruit, but will also dine on insects and flowers. Since their food consists primarily of hard waxy mangrove leaves, they require an intricate system of intestines to aid in digestion. This process produces a lot of gas and makes the monkeys look bloated and full a majority of the time.

     Since these animals live in semi-aquatic habitats, they have adapted to be phenomenal swimmers and even have webbed toes. 


     Habitat loss is one of the biggest threats to proboscis monkey populations as they have experienced a 50% decrease within the last 40 years. Palm oil development and logging are the two most impactful activities in the region, causing many habitats and species to go extinct. 


     Planet Indonesia, an organization that takes a community rights based approach to protect at-risk ecosystems, works to support the conservation efforts of communities who live alongside these primates. These efforts include community-led patrols to safeguard protected areas, habitat restoration, and fisheries management. The entire ecosystem is interlinked, so by protecting everything, including small fish and crabs, the communities living in this region impact everything like the proboscis monkey.

Photographing Tanjung Puting

     I was able to spend a tremendous amount of time with these animals by living on a boat for three days in Tanjung Puting National Park. While there, I was able to see a plethora of other species such as orangutans, kingfishers, large spiders, and more. The habitat was unlike anything I had ever experienced before and was considered a peat swamp and river ecosystem. Everyday we had torrential rain and humidity. When the sky took a break, the mosquitos would come out in droves. 


Though challenging, this place had some of the most beautiful scenes I have ever seen and some of the most photogenic wildlife I have ever encountered. - Justin Grubb.

Photographer: Justin Grubb

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