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FRIDAY, MAY 24, 2013

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sepilok, Sandakan Sabah

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in the Malaysian Sabah District of North Borneo was founded in 1964, to rehabilitate orphan of orangutans. The site is 43 sq km of protected land at the edge of Kabili Sepilok Forest Reserve. Today around 60 to 80 orangutans are living freely in the reserve.

 

The facility provides medical care for orphaned and confiscated orangutans as well as dozens of other wildlife species. There are also some other animals that may be found in Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, namely sun bears, gibbons, Sumatran rhinos and the occasional injured elephants.

Sepilok Orang Utan Sabah

 

Recently rehabilitated individuals have their diet supplemented by daily feedings of milk and bananas. The additional food supplied by the centre is purposefully designed to be monotonous and boring so as to encourage the apes to start to forage for themselves.

 

In the wild orangutan babies stay with their mothers for up to six years while they are taught the skills they need to survive in the forest, the most important of which is climbing. At Sepilok a buddy system is used to replace a mother’s teaching. A younger ape will be paired up with an older one to help them to develop the skills they need.

Sepilok Orang Utan Sabah

 

The creation of reserve areas minimises the impact of deforestation on orangutans and far fewer young apes become the victim of the illegal pet trade as a result of these ‘sanctuaries’. Babies are often caught during logging or forest clearance or captured by poachers who slaughter the adult apes to reach them. The Malaysian Government has clamped down on illegal trading, outlawing all such practice and imposing prison sentences on anyone caught keeping them as pets.

 

While orangutan rehabilitation is still the primary goal at Sepilok, it also focuses on public education on conservation, research and assistance on other endangered species such as the rhinoceros. Sepilok is considered by the Wildlife Department to be a useful educational tool with which to educate both the locals and visitors alike, but they are adamant that the education must not interfere with the rehabilitation process. Visitors can apply to work there as a volunteer helping with the cleaning and caring of the orangutans.

 

Visitors are restricted to walkways. Some orangutans have become familiar with people but touching them is strongly discouraged, and while the apes are naturally shy and gentle, the more mischievous ones may try to grab your camera or hat, in which case you should call for a ranger as trying to wrestle the 200 pound apes may not be a good idea. For the more adventurous, there is trekking through mangrove forests. As this is under the Forestry Department, you will have to get a permit from them before trekking the 5km trail which runs through Sepilok Laut. You can also arrange for a return boattransfer or accommodation in chalets in the forests.

 

You must go to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre if you would like to know more about the orangutan and MASWings makes it easy for you by providing you direct flights to Sandakan, Sabah. Visit www.maswings.com.my now to book your flight!

Tags: Sepilok Orangutan | Borneo Sabah | Sandakan | Best Sabah Hotels | Borneo Island | MASwings | sun bears | gibbons | Sumatran rhinos |

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