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Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

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Orange apes are Borneo’s big drawcard, and possibly why you’re in Sabah. Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre cares for “people of the forest” who have been orphaned or injured due to deforestation or previously illegally kept as pets.

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The centre was the first of its kind in the world, and is now one of several in Malaysia and Indonesia, the countries where the apes are endemic. It’s also one of Sabah’s most popular tourist attractions—you will not be the only one keen on seeing our furry cousins, so expect crowds.

They are our nearest relative. Photo taken in or around Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Sandakan, Malaysia by Sally Arnold.

They are our nearest relative. Photo: Sally Arnold

At Sepilok, the orangutans are divided into youngsters who are still learning to climb and live independently, and more independent older primates who are released into the centre's forest, some 4,300 hectares of protected land at the edge of Kabili Sepilok Forest Reserve. They still need a bit of help and are fed milk and bananas to supplement their diet, and you, and hundreds of others, can observe them during feeding time.

This can seem very zoo-like at times, particularly when there are several tour buses of people there. However, just because a crowd has shown up to see them doesn’t mean the animals will be there. Sightings are not guaranteed, especially during the fruiting season, when they easily find enough to eat themselves, or if it’s raining. Although disappointing, this is a positive as far as rehabilitation of the animals is concerned.

Just hanging out. Photo taken in or around Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Sandakan, Malaysia by Sally Arnold.

Just hanging out. Photo: Sally Arnold

The feeding times are twice daily, at 10:00 and 15:00. It’s recommended to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to feeding, as the ticket booth is often busy. Visitors are not permitted to take bags, water or anything beside your camera (for which there is a fee) as the naughty orangutans are keen to get their hands an anything, and you may be carrying something potentially harmful to them. You can leave your bags at the free lockers at the ... Travelfish members only (Around 700 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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How to get there
To get to Sepilok from Sandakan, public buses pass the turnoff to Jalan Sepilok, then you will have to walk a further 2.5 kilometres. A taxi from Sandakan is about 50 ringgit one way or 100 ringgit return including waiting time.

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre
Sepilok, 25 km rom Sandakan
Daily 09:00-12:00, 14:00-16:00
T: (089) 5311 189
Admission: Adults/children: 30/15 ringgit. Camera fee: 10 ringgit; lenses over 400mm: 1,000 ringgit. Cash only.

Location map for Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

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