Threatened by logging and captivity, their population dwindles through the years. These so-called “men of the forest” are estimated to be as few as 10,000 still in the wild.
In 2007, I followed the path of a boardwalk that led me to a viewing gallery and a feeding platform. There were a few orangutans on site but slowly, more emerged from the rainforest lured by milk and bananas. Feeding time is twice a day – once in the morning and another in the afternoon.
No longer held in captivity (by various people and for various reasons), they are free to roam as they please around the 4,300 hectare Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve. This is so they get used to their own natural habitat once more and this –in the meantime – is their sanctuary.
Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre aims to return orphaned, injured and displaced orangutans back into the wild, back to the jungle of Borneo. Orangutans are natives of Borneo and Sumatra in Indonesia. The Borneo orangutans however, are only found in Borneo, and the centre affords a rare opportunity to see these endangered species up close.
The orangutans may be the star, but pig tailed and long-tailed macaques share a bit of the stage at the time of feeding. They have learned that there is an easy meal available and show up too at feeding time.
A day trip to Sepilok is not possible from Kota Kinabalu but if you find yourself in Sandakan, a trip to Sepilok Sanctuary is a must.
If you are not on any tour, public buses and taxis are available from Sandakan town. The Labuk Road Bus Company vehicles leave from the front of the Sandakan Town Council (Majlis Perbandaran Sandakan or MPS) from 6.00 am onwards.
The Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan bus can also drop you at junction Jalan Sepilok, around 2.5km from the Center. Journey about 5 hours from KK.
You can hire a taxi for a return trip for about RM100.00 negotiable. The distance between town and the Centre is about 23km.Opening Hours: Daily from 8.00am till 5.00pm Exhibition Hall: Daily (except Fridays) from 9.00am till 4.30pm Centre: Daily from 9.00am till 12.00pm and 2.00pm till 4.00pm Fridays 9.00am till 11.00am, 2.00pm till 4.00pm Address: Batu 14, Jalan Labuk Sandakan Sabah, WDT200, 9009 Sandakan Sabah