Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre

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Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre {SOURC} is the world-famous place to meet the adorable fluffy orange jungle man. Around 60 to 80 orphan and injured orang utans live freely inside a slice of the Sepilok protected forest reserve. According to IUCN [ International Union for Conservation of Nature ], the population of orang utan on Borneo has incredibly dropped by 60 percent since 1950’s and projected to decrease further to 82 percent by 2025. One of the major cause in population decline is due to deforestation, which destroys the natural habitat of the orang utan. Now, protecting the remaining population of orang utan is the key to the conservation of the endangered species as a whole. And being able to have a personal involvement to support towards the conservation is truly inspiring.

Located about half and hour drive from Sandakan town, Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre is situated just opposite the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre. It was established in 1964, as the first official orang utan rehabilitation centre in the world that rescue orphan baby orang utans from logging sites, plantation, illegal hunting or kept as pets. The centre is surrounded by 4294 hectares of Sepilok-Kabili Forest Reserve and it serves as natural classroom for the orang utan.

The Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre works through “RRR” Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release. Most of the orang utan that come to the centre are either found injured, illegal kept pets or orphan and alone. Adult orang utan are patched up as required and release back to the selected forest reserve, whereas young ones are kept at the centre until they are old and confident enough to be released. The apes are taught important survival skills such as climbing, swinging, nest building and foraging. Besides the indoor nursery, visitors can also watch some of the young orang utans at the outdoor nursery platform, a jungle-gym right on the edge of the forest. It serves as a feeding point, training ground and open play area. The orang utans are free to explore the surrounding trees or remain at the jungle gym platform until they are comfortable enough to venture out, allows the development of confidence to interact with the surrounding forest at their own pace.

The Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre has two feeding times per day, which is at 10 am and 3 pm. It takes around 10 minutes walk from the ticket checkpoint towards the feeding area, so make sure you arrive earlier during your visit. Along the 200 metres walk on a raised wooden boardwalk that leads to the feeding platform, you will see towering tropical trees, some wild macaques or even hornbills flying across the canopy and look up among the trees to find some of the orang utan’s nest. There are times where the caretakers will bring the babies and adolescents to the outdoor nursery, where you get to take a picture with them just before the feeding time. Visitors are not allowed to carry their bag, food, drinks and insect repellent, since orang utan and monkeys are highly curious and won’t hesitate to snatch any object they find alluring. Therefore, make sure to keep your bags in the locker at the entrance.

At the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, you will also find plenty of educational material including an interesting short documentary about SOURC project, souvenir shop, a cafe and of course an ample opportunities to watch the vivacious orang utans in their natural habitat. We thoroughly recommend you to stay at Sepilok Forest Edge Resort, where you will have more time to visit other nearby attraction such as the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre and the Rainforest Discovery Centre. And if you are looking to volunteer for the SOURC, Sepilok Forest Edge Resort is a perfect place since it is only 10 minutes walking distance from the centre. You can also sign up at the centre or online to adopt one of the adorable orang utans at SOURC. Choose any orang utan that you would like to sponsor and receive an adoption certificate plus a DVD of your orang utan. It is definitely a great gift for kids or animal enthusiast. All of the fund raised from visitors to the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre go towards the food and medical care for the orang utans, and to rehabilitate them into the wild in order to regrow the population of these endangered species on Borneo. By visiting, learning and respectfully observing the orang utans, you can support the great work they do at SOURC and have an unforgettable experience.