Sepilok orang utan rehabilitation centre 西必洛 人猿保护中心
Explore the Wonders of Sabah Malaysia
The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre goes back to a project proposed in 1961 by P F Burgess, then the Deputy Conservator of Forests in North Borneo. The present site of the centre is the Kabili Forest Reserved, already gazetted as such in 1934. In 1962, with the backing of the newly formed World Wildlife Fund, the Curator of the Sarawak Museum Tom Harrisson visited Sabah (then North Borneo) and reported that orang utan were rare and threatened with extinction . Soon afterwards his wife Barbara began collecting young orang utans that were kept as pets. The idea was to train the apes so that they would be able to fend for themselves in the wild. The Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre was finally established in 1964. The facility provides medical care for orphaned and confiscated orang utans as well as dozens of other wildlife species. Some of the other animals which end up being treated at the centre include; Sun Bears, Gibbons Sumatran Rhinos and the occasional injured Elephant. Recently rehabilitated individuals have their diet supplemented by daily feedings of milk and bananas. The additional food supplied by the centre is purposefully designed to be monotonous and boring so as to encourage the apes to start to forage for themselves. Sepilok is considered by the Wildlife Department to be a useful educational tool with which to educate both the locals and visitors alike, however, they are adamant that the education must not interfere with the rehabilitation process. Sepilok, renowned for its orangutan rehabilitation project, has stimulated a greater local and international awareness of the protection laws for endangered species, and the Centre has resulted in an increase in detection and confiscation of illegally held captive animals. The orang utan project is roughly divided into four stages: quarantine, indoor kindergarten or nursery, outdoor nursery, and free roaming forest reserve. The regular visitor will only be allowed to the free roaming forest reserve and most only visits the feeding plat form, easily accessible over boardwalks. In the wild orang utan babies stay with their mothers for up to six years while they are taught the skills they need to survive in the forest, the most important of which is climbing. At Sepilok a buddy system is used to replace a mother’s teaching. A younger ape will be paired up with an older one to learn the skills they need. After all, the animals are trained to live an independent life in their natural habitat, and look for foods for themselves.