From Mulu we fly to Kota Kinabalu and then get a bus to Sepilok. Sepilok is a small village with a big attraction – orang-utans! There is an orang-utan rehabilitation sanctuary here and tourists can visit the fourth stage of the rehabilitation process. By this point, the orang-utans are living in the wild among other orang-utans, but the centre still gives them some extra food to supplement what they can find for themselves.
When we arrive there are about 20 coaches parked in the car park and there are about 500 people watching the 10am feeding. With that many people, the “Quiet” signs are all but useless, but the orang-utans must be used to a fair amount of fuss because they turn up anyway and seem unperturbed. We see three mothers with babies; I guess the nursing mothers need the extra food more than the others. The babies are of course very sweet, playing to the crowd by falling head-first into a bucket of milk.
We stick around for the afternoon feeding and by this time the coach parties have left and there are only around 40 people in the afternoon, so it is much quieter and we see more orang-utans and they stay around for longer. We see a family group of mother, father and baby. This is lovely as the mother and father are cuddling each other and both are playing with the baby.
While I am watching, I feel someone push in beside me to get a closer look. Cheeky monkey!
After all the food has gone and the macaques have swarmed in to deal with any leftovers, the apes reward the relative quiet of the spectators by hanging around for a while and getting close enough for some great photos.
More photos of orang-utans than you can shake a stick at on Mr Beet’s flickr page.