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MONDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 2018

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sandakan, Sabah

Sepilok is a conservation centre located at Sandakan's east coast Sabah, 30 minutes drive from Sandakan town centre. The conservation centre is famous as it is one of the main tourists’ attractions and also one of eco-tourism destinations in Sabah.
 
Sepilok was opened since 1964 and it is the oldest orangutan recovery centre on the island of Borneo. What makes this centre more interesting is because it is located in the middle of 4,294-hectare forest reserve. It is managed by Sabah Wildlife Department, so that makes Sepilok not only the tourists centre, it is also a place for people all around the world to learn more about orangutans.
 
For nature lovers, it is also interesting to explore the centre as it is classified as virgin forest and protected areas. Approximately 400 species of trees were found in Sepilok area, making them the most suitable habitat for orangutans because of the easy access of fruits in the forest. Fruits are the largest diet for primate species and it was said that orangutans eat at least 200 types of fruits throughout their lifetimes and they can live up to 35 years.
 
Since its first opening in 1964, Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre had received and treated about 760 Bornean species of orangutans and this was recorded by the Sabah wildlife department. All the orangutans were saved from poaching activities because some people are willing to buy orangutans for pets. There were also orangutans that were rescued from logged forest areas.
 
The Sepilok recovery program can take a long time depending on each orangutan, which can take about 8-10 years. Studies on orangutans had proven that they had 96.4 percent similarities as human beings, so that is why their learning process can be slow or fast, which is quite similar to humans. 
 
Each orangutan that were brought to the centre will undergo thorough health examination, and will be quarantined for a period of time, just in case if the orangutan is carrying disease. This is to the diseases from being transmitted to others.
 
For young orangutans, they will spend their time in the nursery to learn essential skills needed such as finding food, climbing and also building nest. Once they are ready, they will be moved to the Outdoor Nursery, where they will have more freedom at the same time helping them to become less dependent on food and emotional support.
 
This outdoor nursery was opened to public viewing in 2014. It is located only a short distance from the feeding platform. At this outdoor nursery, visitors are able to see the young orangutans play and practice their swinging. 
 
For older orangutans, they will be released back into the wild forest as soon as they are ready. So far, the study by Sabah Wildlife Department states that at least 81 percent of the orangutan from Sepilok managed to recover and return to the wild forest.
 
 
Sepilok operates daily from 9am to 5pm. For now, the main program for visitors is to watch orangutans feeding twice daily, at 10am and 3pm.
 
Visitors' entrance fee is RM5 for Malaysians and RM30 for foreigners. Visitors can also bring their cameras to take photographs, though there is a RM10 fee for one camera.
 
If you are interested in going to Sepilok, check out our 2D1N Kinabatangan Tour, which includes visit to Sepilok and Sukau: Kinabatangan Wildlife Close Up 2D1N 
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