Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Western Tarsier

I never expected to see the Western Tarsier, as it is very rare, nocturnal, and small - a bad combination for viewing chances.  However, on my last night excursion in Borneo, I lucked out.  A Western Tarsier was on a branch near the road and we were able to view it with flashlights from very close up, for several minutes.  We also got to see it jump - and it has GREAT jumping skills, like a little spring with hands!  This is one cute animal!  The big eyes, the long fingers, the long toes and tail - it is just everything you could want a cute little mammal to be.  It eats mainly insects.  It is considered the Holy Grail of night walks and night drives in Borneo and everyone hopes to see it without expecting to.  One of our night walks, the guide found one, but no one got to see it before it moved off...which was a bummer since we were hiking in the dark, in the jungle, with leeches and snakes, in mud, sweating like crazy...hoping to see some sort of mammal.  It is particularly frustrating to know you JUST missed it!  Surely we could not be lucky enough to get near one twice, so I stopped hoping....only to have an EXCELLENT view of one the last night there!  The beauty of wildlife travel is you just never know what great thing you might see!

Night photography almost never works out for me - I don't have the skill set or the right camera.  Even though these photos are not perfect, I was thrilled to get them so that I have some record of seeing this great creature!  A friend I met on the trip also shared her photos with me, so I credit Melissa with the photo on the left and the one on the right is from my camera.  It is always a challenge in a vehcile that is never quite still, at night, using zoom, and the illumination of a flashlight - to get a good picture!  Hopefully it captures enough of the cuteness for you to get an idea, until of course you go looking for this creature in the jungles of Borneo or Indonesia yourself.  I wish you luck in finding one!

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