Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre (Sabah)

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The function of the Sepilok orangutan rehabilitation centre is to train abandoned orangutans to function in the wild so they can eventually be released to roam free. In the centre, the very young are shown how to climb robes and move around in the trees. There are feeding stations where visitors can watch the animals, but this is not an easy task as this centre has many visitors. You cannot carry bags into the area as the orangutans and local macaques may try to snatch them away, so you are advised to keep your distance at all times. The orangutan shown above had jumped down from the trees behind us and was walking along the top of the railing. The warders were telling everyone to move away, so I was very pleased to get this photo.

Here is one of the younger orangutans making its way to a feeding station.

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The older orangutans had slightly further to go to get their food from a handler who stayed quite still most of the time and tried to avoid eye contact with the animals. Baby orangutans are very dependent on their handlers for the first six years, and naturally the handlers become quite attached to them. Ultimately, they have to be weaned off human contact though.

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Be warned, the next photo is X-rated! Actually, this was pretend sex with a completely disinterested female who was dragged around the platform by the young male orangutan. Quite fun to watch actually!

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As we walked way from the feeding station, we saw a few orangutans in the trees nearby. As you can see, they have the most extraordinary arms and legs!

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And, as you will see with feeding time for the proboscis monkeys, here too the macaques try to steel the food put out for the orangutans. I think this macaque is a Southern Pig-tailed macaque; much bulkier than the more common long-tailed macaques.

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Finally, some other monkeys tried to steal the limelight:

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© Helen Gray 2020