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Sandakan ~ Orang Utan & Proboscis Sanctuaries

• History & People • Kota Kinabalu • Kinabalu Park • Kudat • Sandakan • Wetlands Nature Retreats •
• Other Places • Mantanani Island • Pulau Tiga • Danum Valley • Pulau Layang Layang • Sipadan Dive Islands •

• Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary • Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary •

Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary
This world-famous Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary is a fascinating place to Visit. In this rehabilitation centre, captive orang utans (which means "man of the forest" in Malay) are retrained for life in the jungle. The centre allows a close-up view of these arboreal creatures and visitors can observe trainers teaching orphaned or displaced Orang Utan apes to adapt in their natural habitat.

Orang-utans have brown and rust-coloured shaggy fur. They weigh an average of 50 kg (110 lb) and can weigh over 90 kg (200 lb). The orang-utan lives in tropical, swamp and mountain forests, where it eats mostly fruit, leaves and insects.

The best time to visit is at 10.00 am and again at 2.30 pm when the primates emerge from the forest for their daily ration of bananas and milk. Feeding time also attracts long-tailed macaques to the area. Visitors are restricted to walkways. Some orang Utan have become familiar with people but touching them is strongly discouraged, and while the apes are naturally shy and gentle, the more mischievous ones may try to grab your camera, bag or hat. However, it is usually possible to meet and photograph a couple of the mature females, who are so fond of human company that they refuse to go back to the wild, just outside the Registration Centre.

While orang Utan rehabilitation is still the primary goal at Sepilok, it also focuses on public education on conservation, research and assistance on other endangered species such as the rhinoceros.
The Sanctuary also houses a couple of highly endangered Sumatran rhinos, and occasionally other animals such as elephants. There is an Information Nature Education Centre, and a mini-theater where a documentary video about the work of the Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary is shown. Visitors are advised to arrive about one hour in advance to register and enjoy activities prior
to the feeding.

Aside from the orang utan, over 200 species of birds and a variety of wild plants can be found within the 5.666 hectares of forest reserve. There's also a Mangrove Forest Trail. This trail in the 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.

As flash photography is not allowed during feeding times, make sure you set your camera to ASA 400 or higher, as it's quite dim in the jungle.

Location - The distance between town and the Centre is approximately 23km.
Daily from 9.00am till 12.00pm and 2.00pm till 4.00pm Fridays 9.00am till 11.00am, 2.00pm till 4.00pm


Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary
The proboscis monkey (scientific name: Nasalis larvatus) is undoubtedly the most handsome monkey in the world.

Much of its body is richly coated with golden fur, its agile limbs a smooth smoky grey, and its rump and long tail spectacularly white. The most striking feature is of course the big, fleshy, pendulous nose of the adult male, which gives the monkey its weird good looks. The females are much smaller and have up-turned noses.

Locally the monkey is affectionately called ‘monyet Belanda’ in Malay, meaning Dutch monkey, not because the monkey is Dutch in origin (in fact it is only found naturally in Borneo and nowhere else), but the locals might have thought it resembled Dutchmen in some ways!

Originally earmarked for oil palm plantation development, the owner had set aside this area as a unique sanctuary for the equally unique Proboscis monkey and other animals and plants that inhabited the locality. Few people in their quest for commercial gain pay much attention to the plight of monkeys and other animals on their land, but this plantation owner made a well thought decision and refrained from bulldozing the mangroves for more plantations. What started out as a simple project is now a recognised effort and also a tourist sanctuary where one can spend a night (or better two!) amongst mangroves and their irreplaceable eco system.

Previously, the best chance of seeing the monkey was to travel to the lower Kinabatangan River, which took at least a day from Sandakan town. Now this privately-owned sanctuary located within an oil palm estate, makes an easier and more accessible place for seeing the monkey. This area of about 500 acres of mangrove forest is especially reserved for the monkey.

A river trip can be arranged to further observe the monkeys or do some bird watching, as hornbills and kingfishers are found in the area. Take a night tour for a chance to see wild boars, flying squirrels, fireflies and crocodiles. The sanctuary also has a lodge with six air-conditioned twin-sharing rooms and a dormitory for those who wish to stay overnight.

Location - 45 mins drive along Jalan Lubuk
Feeding times - Mornings : 11.30am till 1.30pm / Afternoons : 4.30pm till 6.00pm







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[Sandakan - Sights & Visits] [Sandakan - Other Places] [Lankayan Island] [Orang Utan & Proboscis Sanctuaries] [Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary] [Turtle Islands Park]

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