Urban Wildlife Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia

A couple of weeks ago I came back from a month long trip to Malaysia. I was based in the capital which is called Kuala Lumpur. It is among the fastest growing metropolitan regions in South-East Asia, in terms of population and economy.

This is great for the economy and the growth of the country but green areas and wildlife are disappearing fast. As I only had a limited amount of time to photograph wildlife I decided to concentrate almost all of my time photographing urban wildlife in the city.

There are still pockets of jungle smack bang in the city and in the outlying areas, these locations would be the focus of my photography.

As we were staying in Malaysia during the monsoon, throughout the day and night there would be huge electrical storms and downpours. After one of these such storms, I headed out into the city with my camera and a torch to see what wildlife there was to photograph.

It didn’t take long to run into huge snails taking advantage of the moisture and cooler conditions.

These snails were giant African land snails. The species is native to East Africa, but it has been widely introduced to other parts of the world including Malaysia through the pet trade, as a food resource, and by accidental introduction. In Taiwan, this species is used in the dish of(Hot Frying snails)which is a delicacy among the traditional drinking snacks and constitutes the predominant land snail found in Chinese markets.

I noticed a large snail on some metal railings near a busy junction. This looked like a good location to use my Sigma Fisheye lens as I could get close to the subject and show the environment with some light trails from the passing cars. I spent around an hour in the location until the heavens opened and I made a hasty retreat back to the hotel.

I noticed that this snail seemed sensitive to noise and vibrations. It would slowly start to come out of its shell, but as soon as a motor vehicle would pass and the vibrations made it retract back into its shell. This proved frustrating as I didn’t manage to get a photo of the snail fully of its shell.


Caught Red Handed

I had heard reports of monkeys raiding condominiums in an outlying area of Kuala Lumpur looking for food.

These condominiums had been built next to a small area of jungle, which is still home to a troop of Long Tail Macaques.

The security guards who work at the complex had tried to eradicate the monkeys with various methods. I heard they had recently resorted to using bangers to scare them off.

This had seemed to only work as a short-term measure. I arranged an opportunity with the owner of one of the apartments to try and photograph this interesting behaviour.

Long tail macaques are famed for their ability to thrive in urban environments and to also raid homes looking for food to steal and in the process cause havoc.

The trap was simple; I would place a small amount of food on the balcony of the apartment and some smaller items of food on the floor. This would be where I would set up my camera equipment.

The equipment I would be using to photograph the monkeys would be my Canon 5dmr camera with my fish eye lens, a flash unit and a remote trigger device.

By using the remote trigger device I could position myself inside the apartment out of sight from the monkeys and my camera set up would be on the balcony floor waiting for the macaque to take the bait.

I added some rubbish to the floor to give the picture more interest as it looked bare and I wanted to give a more of a urban feel

Once the trap had been set I just had to sit back and wait. I had been waiting for around an hour when something caught my eye. I could see a couple of macaques walking along a telegraph wire near the jungle area. I tapped on the glass causing the monkeys to look in my direction and they saw the fruit. They quickly jumped into a tree and started making their way to the balcony. Next the smaller of the two monkeys jumped from one of the trees nearest to the building on to the balcony ate the fruit and then jumped on to the floor area.

As soon as the monkey was in front of my camera I used pressed the remote trigger device, which set off the camera and my flash unit. I am not sure what the monkey must of thought of this but it disappeared as lighting speed back into the jungle and didn’t come back.


Reaching down

Another image from my trip to Malaysia. Its a Silver Leaf Monkey checking me out.

It took a while to get this shot as I had to tempt it out of a tree with some fruit! Its one of my favourite images from the trip.

Silver leaf monkeys live in 9-40 individuals with one adult male and many adult females communally caring for infants. The infants are a bright orange colour which changes to the grey/black after 6 months or so.