Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre

When in Borneo, if you don’t encounter Orang Utan, then your trip is not complete. In the entire region of Sabah, you have many places where you can meet them in their natural habitat. The best place will be the Tabin Wildlife Reserve. For people like me, who have limited days to travel, we have ‘Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre‘. The Centre is in Sepilok region, which is in the outskirts of Sandakan City. The rehabilitation centre is basically an area reserved by government to cure and save the endangered Orang Utan. The Orang Utan monkeys are treated and taken care off at this centre. The Orang Utan Rehabilitation centre is nothing like the Zoo. It is a forest area where Orang Utan are staying freely under the observation by the specialist and where visitors can just walk on the path designed by the centre to see the animals in their natural habitat.

Long tail macaque (monkey)

Just like Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary, the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre also have feeding time for Orang Utan twice in a day. The morning feeding and second one in the evening. We went for a morning feeding session as it is not guaranteed that Orang Utan will come to feeding platform. To increase our chances of sporting, we went first in the morning, Incase Orang Utan doesn’t show up, we will have second feeding time to try again.

Baby monkey praying

As we went towards feeding time, which was already started, we saw many long-tail Macque playing around and eating food. Amongst small monkeys was, huge, ape in the dark brown fur – Orang Utan – quietly eating his food. There was only one Orang Utan and he had huge built, looked aged, holding rope in one hand and food in another. Beneath him, long tail macaques were making noise and jumping around, but Orang Utan was not affected by any of them. He silently ate his food and when it was over, we climbed on the rope and walked away.

Old Orang Utan eating his food

Such a clear difference you can see in these two species of monkey, one mischievous and the other matured. Coming from ape family, Orang Utan showed us the courtesy which sometime humans also don’t have. Some of us are uneasy, like long tail macaque who can’t sit in any one place.

Standing tall and 

We thought our sighting of Orang Utan was over when a park guide told us about the second feeding platform which serve food in the morning after the first platform. Hence, we started our walk towards the second feeding platform. As we were walking, we were hoping to see the Orang Utan in between and instead of them, we encountered a snake on the tree resting, rather sleeping. He was camouflaged with leaf that it was difficult for us to spot the snake.

Can you spot the snake ?

Moving to the feeding platform, this was completely different than what we saw earlier and also in Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary. This had a seating area with a full glass wall in front from which you can see the platform and some ropes for Orang Utan to play around. Once the food was kept on the platform, we saw one after another Orang Utan comes to have a bite. These were small Orang Utan, few years old. They all were playing around and eating and walking slowly on the rope. As they were eating, the volunteers came one after another to take them for inspection of their vitals and also give medicine or vaccination.

Orang Utan eating his fruits

The baby Orang Utan were fun to watch as they behaved exactly like human babies, running around, eating quietly, only to again start walking and sit in another area or even playing with another Orang Utans. When volunteers were coming towards them, they were not scared or violent, they happily allow them to lead the way for vaccination. The entire scene was really exciting to watch as I tried to get each and every act of theirs in a frame.

Baby Orang Utan chilling

Once the entire platform was empty, we proceeded towards the walking trail. This trail is good for bird watching and you get the chance to encounter many species of birds including the famous Hornbill. Since we were not a bird watcher, we didn’t observe anything in wild except an endless amount of forest, various trees and sound of a bird chirping.

Orang Utan sitting on tree

On our way we met another couple who shared with us that during their walk, they crossed path with Orang Utan who was heading towards another part of the forest. He showed us the video where Orang Utan was walking towards him, passed him and went towards the forest. The entire video felt as if another person was walking towards him, like he didn’t care who the person is or he is different species then him. No doubt this shows that Orang Utan are long lost cousin of our ancestor, Ape. 

Cute baby blowing kisses !!!

While traveling to Borneo, a visit to this family member is must. It’s our duty to understand their environment which is under great treat and Orang Utan themselves are on verge of extinction. This visit is not to see them before they disappear, this visit is to make sure that they don’t disappear. 

Indeed they are cute monkey

Forests are for them and not for us. The growing palm tree might boost our economy, but what about wildlife and their home? It’s us who can either destroy them or save them, the choice is ours! 

Climbing to the feeding platform for some food
Immersed himself in the fresh fruit
I am coming for you
Sorry, I am busy eating!

Mansi Oza

A travel enthusiast juggling a full-time gig in tourism with my love for exploration! Instead of tallying countries, I'm all about cherishing the experiences each journey brings. Whether it's blending business with leisure or diving headfirst into new adventures, I'm here to share the thrill of discovery with you! Let's embark on unforgettable escapades together!

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