I'm having an amazing time, the project is well managed and the rehabilitation goal is achieved year after year. Staff is friendly, very professional and clear about the rules volunteers should follow to help the rehabilitation process.
I came for the first time in 2018 and had such a good time that I decided to come back this year again. I'm really happy to see the progress done by the orang-outans in one year time: Koko graduated from the indoor nursery to the outdoor nursery and Bidu-Bidu and Chiquita (who were at the outdoor nursery last year) are now back to the forest. Ospie, who is currently at the indoor nursery, shall be the next one to graduate to the Outdoor Nursery. Canyon has become stronger, more independent and a very good climber.
I really enjoy the day to day routine : feeding, cleaning and watching the orang-utans while they train in the trees. I truly recommend the project for anybody interested in orang-utans and conservation projects. (Geraldine, France: June 2019)
YOUR SAFETY, SUPPORT AND BACKUP:
Read important information about the Support & Backup you receive before you leave and during your programme.
Read about the Safety and Security measures we take to ensure your safety and wellbeing while on our programme.
ABOUT SEPILOK ORANG-UTAN REHABILITATION CENTRE:
Orang-Utans (in Malay "man of the forest") are protected under the Fauna Conservation
Ordinance which, among other things, prohibits hunting, trading or keeping them
The Orang-Utan Rehabilitation Centre is situated on the east coast of Sabah, 23
km from Sandakan. A twenty-minute drive from Sandakan brings you to Kabili-Sepilok
Forest, an enormous area of virgin
rainforest. The Wildlife Reserve contains the Orang-Utan rehabilitation centre.
The interaction our volunteers have with the Orangutans is carefully managed by Sepilok. All volunteers are fully medically screened before arrival in Sabah, including for Tuberculosis. They also go into a week’s quarantine before they come into contact with the Orangutans, so that any interaction with the Orangutans is fully controlled. Masks and gloves are worn at all times when exposed to Baby Orangutans. These policies and measures were introduced by specialist veterinarians at Sepilok and have been in place for some time.
Sepilok centre was established in 1964 to return orphaned apes back to the wild.
The objectives of the project have expanded in recent years and, while Orang-Utan
rehabilitation is still the primary goal at Sepilok, present aims include public
education on conservation and research with other endangered species. The centre
now has more than 37 staff looking after
the welfare of the Orang-Utans.
When the rescued Orang-Utans first arrive at the centre, they are often in a sorry
state and riddled with diseases. They are put into cages while they're treated for
their ailments and nursed back to health. The wardens then teach them how to forage
for fruit, climb trees and generally fend for themselves. When they are mid-way
through the rehabilitation
process they are released into the surrounding forest reserve. The animals then
spend most of their time in the forest but often return to one of the centre's five
feeding platforms for a “free” meal. When the wardens feel that that an Orang-Utan
is fully rehabilitated, it is caught and returned to the wild - usually deep in
the forest or to one of the National Parks or Wildlife Sanctuaries.
The Mangrove Forest Trail - This is the most famous 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.
Please note that this project is extremely popular, so very early booking
is strongly advised.
THE TRAVELLERS / SABAH WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT PARTNERSHIP:
Travellers have worked closely with the Sabah Wildlife Department for many, many
years. In the past, several volunteers from the Travellers Orang-Utan project have
been invited by the Sabah Wildlife Department to help with various projects to set
up the Wildlife Park. One assisted in the design of the sun bear enclosure and another
designed and produced the Wildlife Parks information pamphlet.
Travellers also donated £5,140.00 from the Bridge The Gap Foundation (The Phil Perkes
Trust) to sponsor the Children’s Zoo. The Children’s Zoo is first and foremost an
educational facility with an information centre currently under construction that
will boast live exhibits. Brightly painted murals engage attention and the petting
zoo allows children to have hands on contact with domestic animals and wildlife
to encourage learning about conservation. In the petting area there are Rabbits,
Tortoise, Miniature Ponies and Goats. Travellers' donation reflects their commitment
in education and raising awareness about conservation.
2010 saw the start of a Conservation Awareness Programme at Lok Kawi, funded by
Travellers and involving over 1000 local school children in its' first year. The
purpose of the awareness programme is to teach the importance of nature and wildlife
conservation to younger generations through exposure to Borneo's native wildlife.
This and many other initiatives have been very successful.
YOUR ADOPTED ORANG-UTAN: We adopt an Orang-Utan for each volunteer through the Orang-Utan UK Appeal, a charity dedicated to the rehabilitation and preservation of these wonderful animals.
We have been working alongside Orangutan Appeal UK (OAUK) at Sepilok for nearly 20 years. OAUK is a registered charity based in the south of England, dedicated to the rehabilitation and preservation of orangutans and the conservation of their habitat.
The Appeal strives to protect remaining wild populations of orangutans by providing support and funding for projects across Malaysian and Indonesian Borneo; and by raising awareness of the plight of this great ape across the globe. The Appeal is also authorised to work on behalf of the famous Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre!
By Travellers adopting an Orang-Utan for each of our volunteers, we help to contribute funds to the charity to continue their outstanding work and achievements at Sepilok. We cannot praise them highly enough for the work they've accomplished, not only at Sepilok but for all Orang-Utans in Malaysia!
To read more about them and their amazing work, please go here: www.orangutan-appeal.org.uk
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU BOOK YOUR PLACEMENT?
Once you have applied for a placement, we'll contact you and send you our Welcome
Pack. You'll also receive Log-on details and password for our Volunteer Extranet
where you'll have access to all the documentation and information which we've put
together to facilitate preparations for your adventure! Your Project Co-ordinator
for your country will liaise with you throughout the arrangements process, as well
as while you're on your placement and on your return home.
The documents you'll have access to also include a Country Factfile, Safety Guide
and any manuals that may assist you on your particular programme (e.g. Teaching
Guide, Sports Manuals, Enrichment Suggestions for Animal Care, etc.). We do all
we can to make your stay one that you'll never forget. This is a truly awesome,
elegant and beautiful country.
As with all our destinations, the culture and heritage is different to what you're
used to ... which, although one of the most exciting aspects of travelling, should
be borne in mind. Self-reliance and independence are highly appreciated in all our
destinations and will help you to make the most of this wonderful opportunity!
On Arrival, your Introduction to the Country:
When you arrive, you will be welcomed by Albert, our Malaysia Manager. He will take you to your accommodation
at Sepilok and show you the nearby facilities such as banks, pharmacy, food
and beverage outlets etc.
Our projects in Malaysia (particularly the Orang-Utan Centre) are very popular and
you are sure to have a wonderful time during your stay in Sabah. Your adventure
has begun :-)
LOCATION | SIGHTSEEING:
The nearest town to Sepilok is Sandakan where you can find internet cafes, banks,
shops and markets. There are also many historical sights in Sandakan, some of which
you will have the opportunity to visit during the first week of your placement.
One of these is the Australian War Memorial, built in memory of those who sacrificed
their lives during World War II.
Sukau and the region of the Lower Kinabatangan River is unrivalled in terms of wildlife.
It stretches for 560 km and
is estimated to have the highest concentration of wildlife in all of Malaysia. Taking
a river cruise gives you the opportunity to see a variety of animals in their natural
environment; birds, reptiles and monkeys of which the most unusual is the Proboscis
Monkey. Famous for its long nose and round belly, the proboscis monkey is sociable
and active, which means that you are sure to see many of them swinging through the
trees along the river bank.
If you are lucky, you many even see a herd of pygmy elephants grazing and drinking
water by the river bank. This unique
environment is a fascinating place to visit and is only about 2 hours drive from
Sepilok. If you are even lucker, you may see wild boar crossing the river. This
unique environment is a fascinating place to visit and is not far away from Sandakan.
Other attractions are the Puh Jih Syh Temple, the biggest and most expensive temple
in Sabah that overlooks Sandakan Bay, the Sim Sim Water Village and the Rotary Observation
Pavilion which contains
a birds-eye view of Sandakan town.
Kota Kinabalu, or "KK" (as it is locally known), is the capital of Sabah. KK is
a 30 minute flight from Sandakan, and is a great place to visit while you’re in
Although Kota Kinabalu is far less developed than Kuala Lumpur (its counterpart
on the Peninsular), the people are very
friendly and the atmosphere here is more relaxed. KK also boasts impressive markets,
restaurants and nightlife and is a fun introduction to the wide variety of attractions
that Sabah has to offer.
Just off the coast it is possible to see an array of beautiful islands which make
up the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park.
Exploring the coral reefs and marine life in this underwater world is fascinating
and day trips here can be easily arranged - most islands are less than 45 minutes
away by boat. Once you arrive you will be amazed at how clear the water is and just
how many different fish you can see. There are also many wonderful beaches to be
explored on the islands!
Facing inland, it’s possible to see the peaks of Mount Kinabalu in the distance.
This is another of Sabah’s main attractions
and the views from the top at sunrise more than make up for the two day climb.
Afterwards you can soak your aching muscles at Poring where the sulphur hot springs
provide a therapeutic bath.
Throughout the whole of Sabah you will find many local "Tamu", meaning market -
the variety of fruit, vegetables, plants
and handcrafted items on sale at cheap prices has to be seen to be believed!