A drowning Proboscis monkey was a picture of relief and gratitude when it was rescued from the sea by a dive team.
Mark Hedger, 23, who led the divers on a trip to Sapi Island near here yesterday, was surprised to notice something struggling in the water.
He said they had reached the dive site, Clement Reef, when they spotted the monkey making noise as it struggled helplessly and decided to come to its aid.
Mark, who is the Manager of E-Dive Resort operated by Excel Dive and Tours (Borneo) S/B, said: "With a slight swirl on the surface, our boat drew closer and our divers could not believe what we were seeing before our eyes; we discovered a Proboscis (monkey).
"He was crying and we managed to save him and put him with us in the boat. The way he reacted to our help really makes him like a human being, so we treat him like human."
Asked how the monkey reacted as they approached it, Mark, who is from London, said: "He looked very tired and relieved as we were approaching him. As the boat was within reaching distance, it swam directly for the boat and was trying to climb on.
"The dive team used the life ring for him to climb onto the boat. Halid Linggi, Idani Bin Paraja and Liasan Bin Liasim, who are staff members of the dive team helped to make him feel safe.
"We found out that it was a male and we felt he was lucky to be alive, so we nicknamed him Bernasib Baik or Lucky. E-Dive transported Lucky to the Sabah National Parks office at Sapi Island. I would like to share here with others that whilst transporting Lucky to Sapi Island, the dive team was able to take a close look and discover that it is not too much different from a human. Lucky has feelings just like ourselves and was crying and wiping his nose as he realized E-Dive had just saved his life.
"To my knowledge, the Proboscis monkey's diet consists mainly of seeds, leaves, mangrove shoots and unripened fruit.
"Proboscis monkey is both arboreal and amphibious, with its mangrove swamp and river environments containing forest, dry land, shallow water allowing wading, and deep water requiring swimming. Like other similar monkeys, the Proboscis monkey climbs well. It is also a proficient swimmer, often swimming from island to island," Mark says.
~taken from The Borneo Post, Saturday March 29 2008