Visiting the Orphanage – Sabah Trip#9February 22, 2016 at 12:19 am | Posted in itchy backside | Leave a comment
Tags: Animals, Education, Environment, Malaysia, Nature, Photography, Travel
Entrance tickets for foreigners were RM30, plus RM10 for cameras, a vast price difference from the locals. We skipped the video presentation at the main reception area cos we were late and the room was already quite packed. The morning feeding session would be at 10am.
Most of these orphaned orangutans were victims of illegal pet trade. “Babies are often caught during logging or forest clearance or captured by poachers who slaughter the adult apes to reach them. The Malaysian Government has clamped down on illegal trading, outlawing all such practice and imposing prison sentences on anyone caught keeping them as pets.”
From where we were standing at the viewing platform, we could see a few young orangutans hanging around on the trees…
Actually I didn’t expect they would just leave the food there and watch over the orangutans while they eat…I was expecting to have some sort of commentaries about how they are rehabilitated, the kind of trainings given behind the scene…just like what we see on tv documentaries…Well, maybe they did that on the video presentation, but if people were to miss it, then the experience would really feel like just visiting a zoo…
Sneaky fellow! Not sure if this Pig-tailed Macaque was also one of the animals at the centre since the website says they provide medical care for a few other wildlife species like sun bears, gibbons, Sumatran rhinos and elephants
In terms of size, he was not much of a difference from the youngsters, but since he was outnumbered, he was very cautious about not having close contact with the orangutans, and would take food that were further from the feasting youngsters.
Soon, the ranger left them alone, and slowly some orangutans started to climb freely on the rope towards the trees…providing visitors a much closer look at them….
At the centre, their natural mother’s teaching is replaced by joining the youngsters with older orphans who will show them the skills they themselves have already learnt. It has proven to be a very successful combination
Once they have developed their climbing and foraging skills, they are eventually released into the surrounding forest reserve to fend for themselves. They spend most of their time in the forest and will sometimes return to the centre for a free meal. So when it is fruiting seasons when naturally growing food is in abundance in the reserve, visitors may not get to see that many or even any orangutans. Although this can be disappointing for those hoping to see the orangutans, it just means that they are not reliant upon the feeding and are able to survive and in a free and natural existence in the reserve.
We followed the orangutans until they went further deeper into the trees…There are some trails of different distances that visitors could explore but due to time constraint, we didn’t try that. Thought of just chill out at the cafe since it was really a hot day!
Then we realised the Bornean Sunbear Conservation Centre was just around the corner! But we were left with only one more hour before the van picked us back to Uncle Tan Operation Base at 12.30pm!
Sun bears (Helarctos malayanus) are the smallest bear species and the best tree climber.
They may be the small, but they have long tongue of 20-25 cm! They are useful when seeking out for honey in bee hives! Their fondness for honey means they are sometimes named ‘honey bear’ or ‘beruang madu’ in Malay and Indonesian.
“Once found throughout Asia, from India to Vietnam and China to Borneo, their numbers have decreased dramatically due to deforestation, commercial hunting and the pet trade. They are often found in appalling conditions; without a home, a mother, or left to rot in tiny cages. Hence the mission of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) is to rescue these sun bears and promote their conservation to return sun bears to the forest.”
A local researcher there told us that at that time there were 32 bears in six holding pens. Only realised he was actually the CEO and founder of the centre after reading the website! But only this one was opened to visitors. There was only this Sun Bear which was closest to the platform, and another two were further on another tree and much more hidden.
From this observation platform, you could walk a loop around the short boardwalk.
And found this Orangutan high up a tree foraging for fruit! He was supposed to be from the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre next door but apparently crossed over the boundary….Well, just showed that he was able to take care of himself and hopefully may be on the way to be released in the wild in the near future…
We had to take a last look at the adorable Sun Bear cos we would be transported back to the Operation Base and then to our camp site for the next three days.
The viewing areas opened to public and the boardwalk were actually quite small, so the entry fee was quite expensive if you think about it. But, if the money is able to help these orphaned animals have a better chance of survival and be eventually returned to the wild, then it would be money well spent and worth every cent of it! If you have the chance to visit Sepilok, do drop by these two centers for the Orangutans and Sun bear. By just being there, you would be contributing towards the conservation of these two beautiful animals.
Also see related posts:
> Where is the Uncle – Sabah Trip#8
> Wild Sabah – Sabah Trip#7
> The Lost Gardens – Sabah Trip#6
> A Close Shave – Sabah Trip#5
> Boring Hot Spring – Sabah Trip#4
> A Slow Slow Cllimb – Sabah Trip#3
> A Different Garden – Sabah Trip#2
> So Near Yet So Far – Sabah Trip#1