Let’s find the Orang Utan!!
It is a must to meet our ‘ancestors’ when you pay a visit to the mysterious Borneo Island. Sharing over 90% of human’s DNA, the orang utans or ‘red apes’ are one of the endangered species of the 13 primate species found on this island. Having to spot one depends on your luck and among the places you may spot them in wild is in Kinabatangan, Danum Valley and Tabin in Sabah, as well as various locations in Sarawak and Kalimantan, Indonesia. However luck, as always is non-guaranteed, so a chance to meet them up close and personal is rather slim. What’s more, the orang utan’s population is dwindling due to the many human threats and other natural causes.
Sabah, one of the best spots to see orang utans is at the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre, located approximately 25km from Sandakan. Getting there is easy with morning flights connecting Sandakan, or the alternative is to take a 6-hour overland journey from Kota Kinabalu through public buses. There are accommodations in the form of jungle resorts with restaurant and other guest facilities that cater to different segment of tourists who would like to spend more time near the reserve here.
So what can you actually do at the centre? On daily basis, visitors can watch video show before the feeding at 10 am or 3pm. After video show, you will trek about 10 minutes on raise boardwalk, leading to the large viewing platform surrounded by giant trees. Visitors are advised to keep silence and do not approach any orang utan for fear of attack. A ranger will be at the feeding platform to place fruits such as bananas. In most occasions, orang utans will emerge from different directions of the jungle, gliding through tree branches and supporting ropes to have their meals. The best moment would be seeing a mother orang utan carrying a baby and vying for food among their peers.
Overall, it’s a great pleasure to see their hilarious behaviors during feeding time. Don’t be surprised to see our friends, the long-tailed macaques join in the feast at the platform. When you return to the centre, you may quench your thirst or ease your hunger as there are cafeteria or mini shop selling food and drink. There is also gift shop for you to purchase souvenirs to be taken home.