Since it opened in 1964, the world-famous Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre at Sepilok in northern Sabah has cared for apes orphaned or injured by forest clearance. In 43 sq km of tropical forest they are able to roam wild, re-learning essential survival skills such as climbing and foraging which may have been lost through the trauma of displacement. The hope is that in time the animals will be ready to be sufficiently skilled to be released back into the wild. At any given time, between 60 and 80 adults are present here, along with 25 or more babies and youngsters in the site’s nurseries. Visitors are welcome to attend the twice-daily feeding
At any given time, between 60 and 80 adults are present here, along with 25 or more babies and youngsters in the site’s nurseries. Visitors are welcome to attend the twice-daily feeding sessions, when the centre’s charges gather to be fed milk and bananas – a diet that’s intentionally bland in order to encourage the orangutans to gather their own more nutritious forest food.
Alongside the primate reserve is a smaller centre for rescued sun bears, making Sepilok an unmissable destination for wildlife enthusiasts. For those wishing to extend their visit, allowing time to explore the surrounding reserve forest and observing the apes without the crowds of onlookers, we recommend a two-night stay in the area.