Malaysia Backpackers Destination and Homestay


Monday, January 7, 2008

Lok Kawi Wildlife Park

Those who miss the proboscis monkeys at Sungai Klias can always visit the newly-opened Lok Kawi Wildlife Park along the old Penampang-Papar Road route south of Kota Kinabalu.

The park even uses the monkey as its mascot. Above the entrance is a large, painting of the monkey with its signature pinkish snout.

In their enclosure, the monkeys looked more passive than in the wild. They looked as if they wished they were on the outside. Proboscis monkeys have a wise look, with long pink noses (younger ones have black noses) and almost yellow eyes.

An orang utan did a “Tarzan” swing on a rope suspended between poles in its back-to-nature home while two otters below glided and swam with their bodies bobbing up and down a moat.

A group of gibbons excited us with their single syllable “wok” for several minutes before swinging on a rope to a wooden structure, letting out more frenzied “woks”. They seemed to be responding to the sounds of monkeys from other enclosures. “Welcoming them,” I thought.

A medium-sized clouded leopard was so adorable that we spent almost 10 minutes admiring the spots and dashes on its skin as it slept on a crisscross of branches with its legs and paws dangling.

Some mynahs (burung tiong) had acquired simple English words and used them now and then, surprising tourists. Many visitors encouraged them with short greetings like “Hello”, “Assalamualaikum” and “Selamat Datang”.

One deer surprised us by walking towards the fence to be cuddled. We were sad to see the Sumatran rhinoceros and Malayan tigers looking quite bored. Perhaps with more visitors and children, and with some games, their moods would be lifted.

Children can enjoy elephant rides daily from 10.30am to 11.30am and from 3.30pm to 4.30pm. Borneo Pygmy elephants are an attraction here as are ostriches and sun bears.

The aviary was very impressive. One walked on a wooden walkway to view exotic birds such as egrets, hornbills and pigeons in their almost natural habitat with a stream and cascading water.

Lok Kawi Wildlife Park sprawls over 70 hectares of land and costs RM30 million to set up. It is very convenient to watch the animals as the zoo’s 1.4km pedestrian walkway leads from one section to another with informative signposts.

Tickets cost RM10 for adults and RM5 for children while non-Malaysians pay RM20 and RM10 respectively. It’s free for citizens aged 60 years and above and the handicapped.

For more information, contact the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park, Sabah at 088-765710.

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