My last post on Malaysia was about Mount Kinabalu. Now that this part of the trip was complete I could relax. Walking was a different matter. My legs were sore. Beyond sore. Many people would stop me to ask what was wrong or if I needed help. I wish they could have helped but I knew the only thing that would make my legs feel better was time and some stretching. Later that day we bumped into two others who climbed with us. One of them looked as sore as I was and that made me feel better. The Better Half never had a limp and didn’t seem tired at all.
Our first post-Kinabalu activity was a trip to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in the Malaysian Sabah District of North Borneo. This facility was founded in 1964 and the purpose is to rehabilitate orphan orangutans. It has 43 sq km of protected land on the outskirts of the Kabili Sepilok Forest Reserve. Currently, approximately 60-80 orangutans are living in the reserve. The centre provides medical care for orphaned or confiscated orangutans and some other species, including gibbons, sun bears, Sumatran rhinos, and elephants. The facility provides food that is repetitive and boring on purpose to push the animals to look for food themselves.
This centre is a place for education for visitors and the locals. No visitor can approach or touch the animals. Also there is a restricted walkway. The charge is RM 30.00 and there is a RM 10.00 fee to bring in a camera. The feeding times are 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. There is no guarantee that you will see an orangutan.
In the wild, mothers tend their young for around six years and teach them basic skills so they can survive on their own. At the rehab center, they pair a younger ape with an older one to help teach them. Many babies are rescued from areas that are being logged or cleared. Some have been saved after poachers killed the adults. The Malaysian government has clamped down on illegal trading, and now imposes prison sentences to those who keep them as pets.
A decade ago the population was approximately 27,000. Now they think the number is 15,000. Their land is encroached upon forcing them to higher elevations that aren’t as fertile. Since males are solitary they require large areas for survival. And they can catch human illnesses including polio, pneumonia, and tuberculosis. To be blunt the orangutans are critically endangered.
Now that I’ve delivered the depressing news, how about some photos of these wonderful creatures.
For more information, please visit this site.