Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

posted in Malaysia

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centreh6

Dates: 21 Jul
Orang = Person/Man
Utan = Forest
Orangutan = Person/man of the forest

After spending the afternoon at the Rainforest Discovery Centre I had an early night and woke up early to head down to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre for the morning feeding.

The Rehab Centre has two opening slots during the day: 9am-12pm (9-11 on a Friday) and 2pm-4pm. Both of these times have a feeding time: 10am & 3pm. I would advise arriving at the feeding platform 30 minutes before feeding time to allow you to get a good view.

The feeding platform has ropes attached to it going through the rehab centre’s patch of jungle, to show the orangutans the way to the platform. It’s pretty cool watching the ropes bounce around from the orangutans making their way to the platform as the ranger is arriving with food. I went to three feeding times in total (two on the 21st and one in the morning before I did Uncle Tans Kinabatangan Tour) and saw a varied amount each time – one of the times no orangutans came because it was so busy and people were making far too much noise, this was incredibly annoying. The other two times though I saw a handful of orangutans who sat and ate food for around half an hour before making their way back to the jungle.

One thing I really liked about the Rehab Centre is that it’s not enclosed at all, in fact once the orangutans reach a certain age and they can fend for themselves they are are free to leave whenever they want. The Rehab Centre see it as a true success if one day an orangutan leaves and they never see it again, as it means it’s had the confidence to go back to where it belongs.

When the orangutans first arrive at Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre they do get kept in quarantine to ensure they are clean from any diseases, and are then kept in large spacious cages while the staff teach them to climb & build nests. If they were allowed to roam free before learning these skills their chances of survival would be very slim.

There are three sections to the Rehab Centre:

Nursery for new arrivals/babies

You cannot see this as this is when the rehabilitation is most important, as this is where the staff make sure they are free from disease and start to teach them to climb.

Nursery

This is where the orangutans hang out when the initial rehab process has been completed. Here they further develop their climbing skills on the ropes and socialise with other young orangutans. At this stage some of the orangutans still choose to go back to the cages for night time as it’s safe for them there, but some will make a nest and stay in the jungle, coming back to the rehab centre in the day to play and for feeding.

Feeding platform

This is where you see the older orangutans, most of which live nearby in the jungle and choose to come down to the feeding platform for easy access to food. You also see some of the younger orangutans who hang out in the nursery come over for food as well.



Entry to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre is 30RM (~£7) for a day ticket which is useable for both the morning and afternoon session, plus 10RM (~£2) for the use of a camera.

Seeing orangutans is probably the number one thing to do in Borneo, as it’s one of the two places in the world you are able to see them wild (alongside Sumatra in nearby Indonesia). They’re amazing creatures, and share 97% of DNA with humans – this is clear to see when you sit and watch them playing and feeding, it’s incredible how similar we are to them.

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

This little guy was sat in a bamboo tree outside the toilets eating some cheetos

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

I could sit and watch the younger orangutans in the nursery for hours

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre