An island roamed by monkeys

I was still in South Kalimantan Province, Indonesia. That morning my travel partner and I were just visiting one of the famous floating markets of Banjarmasin in Lok Baintan. On our way back to our hotel via Martapura River, the boat man offered us to visit a small island located at the junction of Alalak River with its main river, the Barito. So the island was actually a river delta, a land formed by sediments carried years after years by rivers that met up at the junction. The tiny island was known as Pulau Kembang.

The island was known as the habitat of long tailed monkeys (macaca fascicularis) for a long time. It was said that there were hundredth of them living on the more than 125 acre island. The island, which now had become one of Banjarmasin’s tourist destinations could be reached easily by a small boat from many piers in the city. The distance from the city was only about 1.5 kilometres from the city, so it would only take about 15 minutes trip on the river to reach the monkey island.

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To accommodate travelers who wanted to explore and interact with the monkeys, on the shore, the local government had built a permanent pier, so travelers could land on the island easily. Aside of the pier, they also built a ticket booth. Yes, to enter the island, travelers should buy a ticket. The price was relatively cheap, please not to worry 😎

On the island itself, to make travelers easy and comfortable exploring the mangrove forest which had been the nest of the monkeys, a wooden path had been made. The path crisscrossed some part of the island entering the forest, so travelers could see the monkeys playing, climbing the trees, running and doing anything in their natural habitat.

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There were many legends lived among the locals that related to the origin of the island and many monkeys that inhabited it. One of them was about an invasion to the local kingdom of Banjar in the 18th century. It was said that a big ship from China once came through the river, and the intention was to conquer the kingdom of Banjar. Later on, the grand vizier of Banjar with its supernatural power could defeat the intruder and sunk the intruder ship along with all the people inside the ship.

Time after time, the sunken ship was covered by mud and sediments, and turned into an island. Seeing the island at the junction of Alalak and Barito River, the later king of Banjar ordered one of his men to guard the island. To accompany him guarding the newly formed island, the guard bring along with him two monkeys. After a long time, the monkeys bred and now the population was so big.

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On the other hand, the Chinese community in the area considered the island as the tomb of their kin. They often pray for the deceased on the island. They brought flowers to use in their ritual. The locals who passed the island often saw many flowers laid on the island shore. And since then, the locals called the new island Pulau Kembang (pulau means island and kembang means flower). Later on, the Chinese community also built a small temple with an altar on the island for the purpose of their ritual. The altar was still existed up till now and still being used at a certain time.

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So . . . are you interested to meet and play with some cute monkeys on the island? If so, please be careful because the monkeys on Pulau Kembang were still wild monkeys, they were not pets :mrgreen:

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Keterangan :

Pagi itu, setelah berkunjung ke salah satu lokasi pasar terapung yang sudah menjadi ikon Banjarmasin, aku dan teman seperjalananku menyusuri Sungai Martapura untuk kembali ke kota ketika tiba-tiba si bapak yang mengemudikan perahu kelotok menawarkan untuk langsung ke Pulau Kembang sekalian sebelum kembali ke kota. Katanya sih lokasinya nggak jauh dari kota, paling juga sekitar 1.5 kilometer dan bisa ditempuh dalam waktu yang nggak terlalu lama dengan kelotok yang aku tumpangi itu.

Pulau Kembang sebetulnya merupakan tanah delta sungai yang terletak di pertemuan antara aliran sungai Alalak dengan Sungai Barito. Endapan lumpur berbilang tahun di situ menyebabkan timbulnya daratan yang kemudian ditutupi mangrove. Pulau seluas kurang lebih 60 Hektar ini merupakan habitat kawanan kera ekor panjang (macaca fascicularis). Konon sih ada juga bekantan yang hidup di sana, tapi sayangnya bekantan-bekantan ini jarang menampakkan dirinya. Mungkin malu karena hidungnya yang besar itu 😆

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Pulau Kembang sudah dikembangkan menjadi salah satu tujuan wisata andalan Banjarmasin. Di sana sudah dibangun dermaga yang memudahkan perahu-perahu kelotok yang mengangkut pelancong bersandar dan menurunkan penumpangnya. Di dekat dermaga juga sudah dibangun sebuah bangunan yang difungsikan sebagai loket penjualan tiket.

Lho . . jadi ke situ harus bayar tiket segala ya? 😯

Iya, tapi jangan kuatirlah. Buat kita orang lokal, harga tiketnya murah banget koq. Ketika aku kesana, per orang hanya dikenakan Rp 5.000,– pada hari biasa dan Rp 7.500,– di hari libur.

Kemudian untuk memudahkan para pelancong menjelajah sebagian pulau, pemerintah setempat sudah membangun jalur jalan dari kayu yang saling bersilangan masuk ke dalam hutan mangrove yang tumbuh lebat di pulau itu. Dengan demikian, pelancong juga tidak perlu berjalan di lumpur yang menutupi permukaan pulau kalau ingin melihat tingkah polah monyet-monyet di sana. Ya meskipun jadinya kita juga sering berbagi jalan bersama monyet-monyet yang kadang main kejar-kejaran di jalur jalan itu atau malahan asyik saling mencari kutu atau berpacaran layaknya jalur jalan itu punya moyangnya 😛

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Ada banyak legenda yang berkaitan dengan asal mula Pulau Kembang dan monyet-monyet yang hidup di sana. Salah satunya menceritakan bahwa pada abad ke 18, sebuah jung besar dari negeri tirai bambu masuk melalui Sungai Barito dengan tujuan ingin menaklukan kerajaan Banjar. Patih Banjar yang sakti segera menghadang rombongan tersebut dan meminta mereka untuk mengurungkan niatnya. Tapi rupanya pertempuran tidak bisa dihindarkan.

Akhirnya Sang Patih berhasil mengalahkan para penyerbu itu; bahkan dengan kesaktiannya, perahu besar itu dapat ditenggelamkan beserta seluruh isinya.

Berbilang tahun kemudian, kapal yang tenggelam tersebut menjadi penghambat aliran air sungai Barito maupun Alalak sehingga tubuh kapal mulai tertutup lumpur yang terbawa aliran sungai-sungai tersebut. Lama kelamaan lumpur yang melapisi badan kapal menjadi semakin tebal bahkan mengendap dan membentuk daratan yang kemudian perlahan mulai ditumbuhi berbagai tanaman mangrove. Rupanya tanah endapan yang subur itu memang cocok sebagai tempat tumbuh tanaman mangrove sehingga tidak terlalu lama, tumbuhan yang ada di pulau itu sudah membentuk hutan.

Raja Banjar yang kemudian, meminta salah satu orang kepercayaannya untuk tinggal di pulau yang baru terbentuk itu sekaligus menjaganya. Orang tersebut membawa serta dua ekor kera kesayangannya untuk menemaninya di pulau itu. Konon setelah beberapa tahun orang tersebut menghilang dan rohnya dipercaya menjadi penunggu pulau; sementara sepasang kera yang dibawanya berkembang biak menjadi sangat banyak bahkan sekarang jumlah kera keturunannya di sana sudah ratusan.

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Sementara itu masyarakat keturunan Tionghoa yang tinggal di sekitar sungai Barito, menganggap bahwa pulau yang baru terbentuk itu juga merupakan pusara bagi kerabat mereka. Karena itulah mereka sering datang ke pulau itu sambil membawa bunga dan melakukan ritual persembahyangan di sana.

Penduduk sekitar sering kali melihat taburan maupun tumpukan bunga yang cukup banyak di pulau itu, sehingga lambat laun mereka mulai menyebut pulau itu dengan nama pulau yang banyak bunga atau kembangnya; dan lama kelamaan nama Pulau Kembang menjadi sebutan untuk pulau tersebut.

Belakangan, di pulau tersebut dibangun juga sebuah bangunan terbuka dengan altar persembahyangan di dalamnya. Bangunan dan altar ini sampai sekarang masih sering dipergunakan oleh masyarakat Tionghoa setempat untuk melakukan ritual persembahyangan.

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Nah itu sedikit gambaran mengenai Pulau Kembang, sebuah pulau yang ada di tengah sungai dan dihuni oleh ratusan ekor monyet. Tertarik ke sana? Kalau iya, tetap harus berhati-hati kalau bercanda dengan para monyet di sana ya. Biarpun kelihatan lucu dan jinak, tetap saja monyet-monyet itu hewan liar yang bisa sewaktu-waktu nakal dan bahkan beringas.–

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Categories: Travel Pictures | Tags: , , , , , | 32 Comments

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32 thoughts on “An island roamed by monkeys

  1. Beautiful. Are the small ones spider monkeys?

  2. Mas Christ, itu monyetnya gak galak? Ngeri liat monyet besar-besar begitu, 🙂
    Saya hampir setahun tinggal di Banjarmasin. Belum pernah kesana, karena waktu itu (2007) belum tahu tempatnya, belum terkenal.

    • Pas aku kesana sih bisa dibilang nggak ada yang galak koq. Kalau iseng sih iya. Monyetnya berani ngerogoh kantong kalau dia pikir ada makanan di kantong kita 😆

  3. suasana jalan kayunya mengasikkan, hijau hijau asri .. tapi lihat monyet sebanyak itu saya sih ngeri … apalagi lihat yang besar .. hiyyy .. #DasarPenakut

    • Sebetulnya kuncinya perasaan kita sih. Kalau kitanya tenang, biasanya para monyet juga tenang, bahkan bersikap bersahabat dengan kita. Pas di sana itu ada satu monyet yang dengan santainya duduk di pundakku dan monyet itu nggak usil juga. Kata temanku monyetnya mau ikutan motret tuh … ha ha ha 😆

  4. Melihat aneka pose gaya di postingan ini terlihat para kera “cameraface” ya Pak pada sadar kamera. Tidak meraih kamera yg menarik perhatian mereka ya Pak.
    Ini wisata mangrove berpadu satwa yg keren kekayaan Borneo.

    • Iya, Bu. Mereka cukup bersahabat koq. Setahu aku waktu di sana, selama mereka tahu kalau yang kita pegang bukan makanan, mereka nggak bakalan meraihnya sih.

  5. Hallo mas Chris, apa kabar?…… makin keren aja nih isi blognya.. I love it.

  6. foto pertama itu keren banget deh pak..
    jangan2 pak Chris kontiburor di Nat Geo nih..?

  7. Jadi inget pas dikerubutin sama monyet – monyetnya.. ada yang monyetnya naik ke pundak, bahkan monyetnya sampai naik ke kepala, sampai muka gue ketutup sama monyet monyet itu. Awalnya sih takut, tapi lama-lama biasaa.. hihihi.. yang seru pas gue lagi simpan kacang di balik pashmina, si monyet tau aja kalo gue naro kacang disitu, langsung tangannya merogoh kacang dibalik pashimina. seruuuuuu…

  8. maiyantiRina

    aku sudah pernah kesana. Monyetnya lucu. tapi buanyak sekali, jadi ngeri-ngeri juga. Dokumentasi Om Chris jauuuuh lebih cakep.

    • Iya, memang monyetnya banyak di sana. Dan betul banget, kalau kita perhatikan, ada aja tingkah mereka yang bikin kita ketawa ya 🙂

  9. Good review. Have u ever visited Tanjung Puting? It’s interesting too. It can be another alternative to visit

    • Thank you 🙂
      I’ve never been in Tanjung Puting, but the place has already in my top list. Hope that I can visit Tanjung Puting in the near future 🙂

  10. Foto monyet pertama kaya foto monyet yang ada di Jepang yang dibidik oleh fotografer NatGeo dech Pak. Sering lihat iklan nya di NatGeo. Keren..

    • Mirip memang, dan memang aku kepengen banget buat motret monyet yang di Jepang itu, sementara belum ada kesempatan, ya motret monyet yang ada dulu deh 😆

  11. I like your stories very much!

  12. A monkey is a long-tailed, medium-sized member of the order of Primates. The primate order also includes macaques, baboons, guenons, capuchins, marmosets, and tamarins. Monkeys today are a member of two of the three groups of simian primates, the New World monkeys and the Old World monkeys, of which there are 264 known species. Apes and chimpanzees are not scientifically classified as monkeys, a common misconception due to their physical similarities. Some distinguishing features between the new world and old world monkeys include the tail. Most New World monkeys have prehensile tails while Old World monkeys do not. The facial features of each group of monkeys also differ substantially; however, there are a number of shared features as well. Monkeys are a very diverse family of species, ranging in size from the 5-6 inch Pygmy Marmoset, to the adult male Mandrill, which can be 3 feet tall. Some monkeys spend the majority of their lives in treetops, while others call savannas and grasslands home. Most monkeys survive of a diet of fruit, leaves, nuts, berries, eggs, insects and they occasionally hunt other smaller animals.
    Are monkey species endangered? Yes they are.
    The mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) represents one of two known subspecies of the eastern gorilla. There are currently only two population of this subspecies still extant in the world. One of these is found in the Virunga volcanic mountains of Central Africa, and the other in Uganda Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. There’s some debate about whether these two populations are actually separate subspecies or the same one. Even when the two populations are taken together, as of November 2012 there are only 880 individuals of the species left in the wild.
    mountain gorilla – Google Search

    Mountain gorillas are not usually hunted for bush meat, but they are frequently maimed or killed by traps and snares intended for other animals. They have been killed for their heads, hands, and feet, which are sold to collectors. Infants are sold to zoos, researchers, and people who want them as pets. The abduction of infants generally involves the loss of at least one adult, as members of a group will fight to the death to protect their young.Habitat-loss is one of the most severe threats to gorilla populations. The forests where mountain gorillas live are surrounded by rapidly increasing human settlement.
    The orangutan
    The name actually refers to two distinct species  the Bornean orangutan (P. pygmaeus) and the Sumatran orangutan (P. abelii). The two species are both currently considered to be endangered with the Sumatran orangutan being classified as Critically Endangered. The primary cause of the species decline in recent years, of course, human activity. In particular, wide-scale deforestation, poaching, and habitat destruction. The illegal wildlife/pet trade has also played a factor though.
    red faced spider monkey – Google Search

    The red faced spider monkey is facing significant threats to its survival as a result of deforestation, over-hunting, and other forms of habitat loss. It’s currently listed as being Vulnerable on the IUCN Redlist.

    This is the lion eating giant chimpanzee ( the Bili ape). Despite the apparent hunting-prowess of the subspecies, there’s only so much that such an animal can do against encroaching bands of gun-toting illegal gold-miners, bush meat hunters, and poachers.
    Over a 14-month period between September 2007 and November 2008, researcher Cleve Hicks and his Congolese assistants documented 34 chimpanzee orphans and 31 carcasses for sale in the nearby Buta – Aketi – Bambesa region (seven of the orphans have been confiscated and adopted). info from google.
     
    lar gibbon – Google Search

    While they aren’t currently considered to be endangered, deforestation, hunting, and the illegal pet trade are all having an effect on population numbers. The population has fallen significantly  and become highly fragmented over the last few decades.
    Most monkey species eat fruit, bugs, leaves and honey some do eat small animals.
    I’m sure I could go on and on about what monkey species are endangered but I’m sure you guys get the picture there are a lot. I’m going to end the blog there for today. Thank you to everyone who reads this.

  13. . Have u ever visited Tanjung Puting?

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