Sepilok – or Orang-Utans up close

Coming from the Kinabatangan jungle area we decided to skip Sandakan city due to some well phrased comments in guide books („light on must-see attractions“) and advise from fellow travellers coming the opposite direction („quite ugly city without anything to see“) and headed strait to Sepilok.

What is Sepilok?

But honestly it is partially a sad story…

Rising demand for palm oil caused major deforestation all over Borneo (some sources claim up to 70% of primary rain forest to be lost in favor of mono-culture palm oil plantations) the „man of the jungle“ (literal translation of Malay meaning for Orang-Utan) needs to be rescued. Jung monkeys found in the existing plantations or areas being cleared from trees are brought to the Sepilok rehabilitation center to be brought up in the reserve and potentially set free into the wild again after the initial hard years growing up… Also, baby Orang-Utans are captured (mother shot) as they are such cute pets. Unfortunately and surprisingly they eventually grow…

Just to make it clear, it’s not a zoo…it is a huge open area of protected forest the Orang-Utans can live in. Their contact with visitors depends (largely) on them…if they do not want to show up, they do not need to – but see the pictures for how this might look like *smiley winking*

Yes, we got even closer to them than expected! And we managed to find some other wildlife in the reserve as well, that most visitors just passed by!

One thought on “Sepilok – or Orang-Utans up close”

  1. That’s great! And it shows that it is good to avoid the crowds *smiley winking* . And, most important: I found the way to enlarge the photos!!!! Eagerly waiting for more …
    Thanks again Peter

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