Sepilok Orangutan and Sun Bear Sanctuary
Sandakan and Sepilok, Borneo, Malaysia
Visit the famous Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. Here you will have a chance to see successfully rehabilitated orangutans coming to feeding platforms, and perhaps even juvenile orangutans during one of their daily training sessions.
The centre was founded in 1964, and provides medical care, rehabilitation and a safe area for orphaned, injured or previously captive orangutans. The reserve is 43 square kilometres, and currently home to 60 to 80 orangutans.
Feeding times are at 10am and 3pm, but we suggest arriving before these times in order to watch the presentation video on the centre's work. Sightings cannot be guaranteed, even at feeding times, however this is good news, as it means the rehabilitation programmes have been successful, and the orangutans are searching for their own food.
The outdoor nursery is open from 9am to 11am, and from 2.30pm to 4pm. This is where the juvenile orangutans are given the training to prepare them for being released into the reserve. Watching them learn to climb on ropes and trees is a wonderful experience. Please note that if it is raining, the orangutans may have to be kept indoors to prevent the spread of soil or water-borne diseases.
The Sun Bear Sanctuary is next door to Sepilok, and its aims are the same; to rescue and rehabilitate. The Sun Bear is the world’s smallest bear, and it can be found throughout Asia, although predominantly in Borneo. The species is currently under severe threat due to habitat destruction, the illegal pet trade and hunting (bear gall bladders are often still used in traditional medicines, despite no scientific proof of their effectiveness).
At the centre, visitors can walk along raised platforms through the jungle. Sun bears are excellent climbers, and so you may see them on the ground or up in the trees.