They have huge noses, big bellies and live in groups. They are not your ordinary tree swinging monkeys and they don’t eat ripe bananas. They have webbed feet and are able to swim. We are talking about the proboscis monkey – a rare and endangered animal found primarily in Borneo and predominantly in Sabah.
Malaysia will be hosting the Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) in 2014, the nation’s biggest and grandest tourism celebration that welcomes the world to see, feel and experience the endless possibilities of the country. This is the best time to witness and experience dazzling parades and processions, colourful cultural shows and exhibitions, fabulous food festivals, exciting sports and adventure, enchanting music and arts festival, shopping extravaganza, nature thrills and spills and many more.
The Ministry of Tourism & Culture Malaysia has decided to use one of the most endangered animals in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species as the mascot for VMY 2014 – the proboscis monkey.
Aptly known as the long-nosed monkey, the proboscis monkey best encapsulates the essence of Malaysia Truly Asia. Firstly, this elusive monkey belongs to the Asian langurs and is the only member of the Nasalis genus. Proboscis monkey is primarily found in Borneo particularly in Sabah, Malaysia.
Like the diversity encapsulated in the Malaysia Truly Asia branding, the proboscis monkey also possesses diverse skills. It frequently leaps from tree limbs and hits the water with a comical belly flop, as well as attracts its mate with its unusually large and long nose. It also has webbed feet. Naturally, it is always a crowd puller especially for eco-adventure tourists who would not miss a chance to catch a glimpse of this monkey.
Unlike other wildlife species that are scattered around the country, proboscis monkeys are mostly concentrated in Kinabatangan, Sukau, Sandakan, Klias and other parts of Sabah.
The use of the proboscis monkey as the mascot for VMY 2014 will give credence and recognition to wildlife, and thus, instill a new spirit and interest among tourists to appreciate the gift of nature as a national tourism asset.
In addition, having the proboscis monkey as the mascot will also elevate Malaysia in the eyes of the world, by promoting its nature and wildlife conservatory initiatives through tourism.
The mascot will appeal to people from all walks of life and inspire them to be involved in nature conservation and voluntourism efforts, in line with the global tourism aspiration of responsible tourism and green tourism.
All in all, making the proboscis monkey the mascot for VMY 2014 is indeed a perfect choice. After all, what better way to be a perfect host than to show what Mother Nature has to offer!