Wednesday, September 21, 2016

CuriosTraveller: Sandakan @ Sabah, Malaysia - Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center

Located about 25 Kilometers west of Sandakan in Sabah, Malaysia, Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center is one good spot for the tourists and researches. It is a place where people are given the opportunity to watch the Orangutan up close in their natural habitat.

There is a boardwalk that leads to a viewing gallery and feeding platform where the Orangutan are fed milk and bananas twice a day at 10 am and 3 pm by the rangers. According to the Sabah Wildlife Department official website, Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center is funded by the Sabah Government.

The reserve is named after the two rivers flowing into the Sandakan Bay. The aim of Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center is to return orphaned, injured or displaced orangutans back to the wild.

About the Center

The center opened in 1964 as the first official Orangutan rehabilitation project for rescued orphaned baby orangutans from logging sites, plantations, illegal hunting or kept as pets. The orphaned orangutans are trained to survive again in the wild and are released as soon as they are ready.

The sanctuary is located within the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve which covers an area of 4,294 ha (10,610 acres), much of which is virgin rainforest. Today around 60 to 80 orangutans are living free in the reserve.

It has become one of Sabah’s tourist attractions. In October 2014 the center opened a new section where visitors can view the nursery area where the younger Orangutans first learn to be outside and play on a large climbing frame. This consists of 2 large indoor seating areas (one with air conditioning and one with fans only) with a large window that overlooks the play area. There is no additional charge to enter this part of the center.

The rehabilitation process starts as soon as the orangutan is admitted to the center with a thorough health examination, followed by a quarantine period to eliminate diseases being transmitted. Young orangutans spend their time in the ‘Nursery’ learning skills essential to jungle life, for example finding food, building nest and climbing.

Once ready, they will move to the ‘Outdoor Nursery’ where freedom is increased and dependence on food and emotional support is decreased. Last but not the least, most animals achieve total independence and become integrated into the Sepilok wild orangutan population. Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre opens daily from 9 am to 12 pm, 2 pm to 4 pm, 9 am to 11 am and 2 pm to 4 pm on Fridays.