The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre was set up in 1964 to rehabilitate orphaned baby orangutans. Set in the lush 4,300-hectare Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, the Centre is under the administration of the Wildlife Department of Sabah. It attracts tourists and researchers alike, giving them the opportunity to watch the orangutans up close in their natural habitat. A boardwalk leads you to a viewing gallery and feeding platform where the apes are fed milk and bananas twice a day at 10am and 3pm by rangers. Feeding time also attracts long-tailed macaques to the area.
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.
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.
If you are interested in chatting with guide Albert about how you can experience this natural wonder for yourself, contact him here: Albert’s Orangutan Tour.