Only 20 minutes by road from Sandakan
(25 km) and you'll come at the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre. This world-famous Sanctuary enables visitors to come in
close contact with the remarkable "Orang Utan" which means
"man of the forest" in Malaysian. The red-haired Orang Utans are
amust-see, when you bring a visit to Sabah. Here, in the Sepilok Orang Utan
Rehabilitation Centre, young orphaned or captive orang utans are taught
survival skills so that they may return to their natural habitat. After
that, they are released into the forest.
The Rehabilitation Centre is set in 43 square kilometers of
beautiful virgin rainforest. The Sanctuary started in 1964 to help
once-captive Orang Utan and to teach them to fend for themselves in the wild.
After watching orphaned orang utans being taught how to climb, visitors
proceed to a platform. At that platform they can watch the semi-wild
orang utans come in from their jungle hides for their twice-daily ration of
milk and bananas.
These large red apes - man's closest relative- are astonishingly gentle and
highly intelligent, gazing at visitors with almost disconcerting
To avoid the spread of disease, touching the animals is not
permitted inside the Rehabilitation Centre. However, it is usually possible to meet
and photograph a couple of the mature females, who are so fond of human
company that they refuse to go back to the wild, just outside the
The Sanctuary also houses a couple of highly endangered Sumatran rhinos,
and occasionally other animals such as elephants. There is an Information
Nature Education Centre, and a mini-theater where a documentary video
about the work of the Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary is shown.
advised to arrive about one hour in advance to register and enjoy
activities prior to the feeding. It is possible to take a taxi to Sepilok
Rehabilitation Centre and have it wait for your return. There are also infrequent buses marked
"Sepilok" leaving from the station near the Central Market. All
tour operators offer guided tours which include transport.
There's also a Mangrove Forest Trail. This trail in the Sepilok Centre
and takes about 2-3 hours walking one way. Interesting features include a
scenic stream, water-holes, transitional forest, pristine lowland rain
forest, boardwalks into the mangrove forest and wildlife tracks.
Note: Orang-utans have brown and rust-coloured shaggy fur. They weigh an
average of 50 kg (110 lb) and can weigh over 90 kg (200 lb). The orang-utan
lives in tropical, swamp and mountain forests, where it eats mostly fruit,
leaves and insects.