Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Borneo: Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary

For a long time it has sat amongst the hierarchy as one of the top 5 things on my bucket-list…Trekking with the Orangutans of Borneo- the only natural habitat of the primate aptly translated as ‘human of the forest.’

Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre

Sepilok is considered as one of the world’s best animal rehabilitation facilities and is the foremost place to see Orangutans in the wild.

It is home to about 30 orphaned Orangutans and another 70-100 that have been released into the wilderness or were indeed born in the 40km of forest around Sepilok.

We took the 5RM bus from central Sandakan at 9am, (bus number 14) which, after a 50 minute ride, arrived in perfect timing for the daily morning feed at 10am.

In keeping with the crazy, kooky Malaysian culture, the bus was retrofitted with Rolling Stones, Beatles and other Great British memorabilia and the bus driver sang songs and jumped in and out of his seat at every stop- these people are crazy and its awesome!

After paying the 30RM entrance fee and an extra 10RM for bringing in a camera we made our way to the feeding station, which was by now heaving with tourists- all readied with fancy cameras.

At 10am sharp one of the workers bought with him a feast of fruit to the platform which was swiftly followed by a vigorous waving of trees from all angles- picture the scene when the T-Rex is smashing its way through the jungles of Jurassic Park.

We were told that we would be lucky to maybe see 2-3 Orangutans; We got lucky with 7 coming down to the platform to feast- all forming a disorganized ruckus with the largest pushing the smaller ones out of the way for the fruit. Amazing!

After about 20 minutes of feeding one of the Orangutans decided to climb and swing effortlessly on the ropes directly above us, proceeding to hang above our heads for about 30 seconds before making its way to a nest in the nearest tree to the platform.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Borneo: Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary