This was my third visit to Sabah. It was different from my previous 2 trips as I had a chance to go to Sandakan to see the wild life as what it was named Back To Nature FAM Trip organized by Tourism Malaysia Sabah. I heard a lot about Orang Utan from the text book and internet but I never have a close distance with them in real. It was exciting when I was given an opportunity to visit Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre sits on the edge of the Kabili forest reserve, west of Sandakan, end of October.
I believe some of you might not know about Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, here are some general information about it:
"Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre was founded in 1964, to rehabilitate orphan orangutans."
"The site is 43 sq km of protected land at the edge of Kabili Sepilok Forest Reserve."
"Today around 25 young orphaned orangutans are housed in the nurseries, in addition to those free in the reserve. "
"It was set up by an Englishwoman some 50 years ago and was the first Centre in the world to dedicate itself to the rehabilitation of orphaned orang-utans." (source from here)
Opening hours: Saturday to Thursday- 9am to 12pm and 2pm to 4pm. Fridays 9am-11am and 2pm to 4pm.
For those who would like to take pictures of the Orang Utan, extra RM10 is charged for the pass.
Information corner for Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre
Visitors are not allowed to bring food, drink and bags to the centre. We have been told that the Orang Utan would grab our bags as they thought there are food inside. For the safety reason, we placed our bags in the locker before entering the centre. We are advised to lower our voice as not to disturb them. In addition, smoking is prohibited here.
The signage along the walkway introducing the Orang Utan in the centre.
Our first stop was the outdoor nursery building which required us to walk around 15 minutes from the entrance.
It was not very spacious but enough to fit 50 persons at the same time. The viewing room is equipped with air-conditioner, comfortable seats and wide big transparent window which allows us to see the Orang Utan in close proximity.
We spotted 4 Orang Utan that day. They were busy devouring the food at the platform.
After a while, another Orang Utan from the wild joined in the "feast". Everyone was thrilled when they watched the wild Orang Utan swinging swiftly at the rope to the platform to get the food.
Unlike the macaque, they don't gorge the food instead they eat the food slowly seem like they are enjoying it.
One of the Orang Utan stared blankly while having his meal.
Still in a daze...
I was able to capture this post when he looked at the other side and pouting. It looked like he was trying to give a flying kiss. I was "half melted" looking at this picture.
On the net, the baby Orang Utan was alone enjoying the coconut.
Next, we headed to the feeding platform for the Orang Utan feeding time.
Everyone was waiting patiently for the Orang Utan to come up to the feeding platform for food. Visitors are not allowed to hand the food to the Orang Utan or touch them as they are susceptible to infection from human disease and also to avoid unnecessary risks to visitors (wild animals can be unpredictable)
I would like to say that the Orang Utan have the strong teeth to peel off the hard coconut shell. Sighting of Orang Utan at the feeding platform is not guaranteed. These orangutans are living wild in the reserve and come back for a free feed should they wish - therefore, sightings cannot be guaranteed especially during fruiting season.
Luckily we were not left disappointed and able to have one came up for the fruits. It was a good sign as told by the ranger as they were not dependent upon the feeding to survive, they able to find their own food in the wild :D
Not only bananas, they like coconuts too :D
All kinds of merchandises are available and sold at Sepilok souvenir shop at the exit.
|Adoption program by Orang Utan Appeal UK|
Different adoption packages come with different freebies, start from RM200/£36.50/ USD 70/ Euro 50/ AUD 70 per year, you could make a difference to save this endangered species.
It was a very educational trip yet Orang Utan need to be protected as deforestation and hunting causes their lives to be threaten and experts say they could be extinct in the wild in less than 25 years. If you travel to Sandakan, do drop by Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre as it is such a worthwhile experience for all visitors.
Do contact any of the 6 travel agencies below if you wish to find a tour package which allows you to discover Sandakan more with hassle free:
1. Borneo Sandakan Tours Sdn Bhd
2. Green Holiday Sdn Bhd
3. Home Away From Home Sdn Bhd
4. Myne Travel Sdn Bhd
5. Sensational Holidays (Borneo) Sdn Bhd
6. Totally Borneo Holidays Sdn Bhd