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Published: December 6th 2017
Sandakan, this evocative city's name that made me remember some TV series of the 70s
featuring the great and famous character Sandokan, "The Tigers of Mompracem".
It was the city where I stopped by before visiting the Orangutans Rehabilitation Center
located in Sepilok.
The city itself is quite ok, with a few monuments to explore, even though it was destroyed
during the WWII by the Japanese, so the sights of interest are pretty scarce, now.
The principal reason to stay in Sandakan was its proximity to the stupendous Sepilok Forest
reserve and home of the wild orangutans of the Borneo.
It was concealed amongst a treasure of exotic plants, enormous trees and a lot of green.
I arrived there just before the feeding time which was at 10:00 am and 3:00 pm. The
orangutans eat twice a day. It was also very crowded as it is a well known tourist sight,
At the entrance of the Nature Reserve, the visitors are welcome with an introduction video
about the history of the local area.
orangutans got fed on a wooden platform by two men of the Nature Reserve's staff and
were eating some bananas and dried fruits. It was the first time I saw these apes in a
rehabilitation center and I was pleased by the great work of the personnel of the area
helping these beautiful creatures.
I was lucky to see some orangutans that day because they not always show up during the
feeding time and you also need a lot of patience if you want to have a chance to see them.
I also like to remember, when I was walking along the boardwalk, the invasion of Macaques
running toward me, some on the handrail and some on the ground. It was one situation in
which I did not know what to do and I decided to stand still while the monkeys run past me
and a few others stopping and staring at me curiously, for a moment and then moving
The park was huge with its 4,300 hectares and is one of the biggest and most well known
in Malaysia. Around 65 orangutans roam free within the forest
reserve. During their rehabilitation the animals rely heavily on the help of the people that
work at the centre.
The rehabilitation center was founded 1964 with the objective to help injured orangutans to
go back into the wildlife again.
These Apes just survive in very small populations across the islands of Borneo and Sumatra.
It is said that not many years ago the population was around 33,000 species and today it
might be circa 10,000.
But, as always, the ruthless multinational companies saw timber as a profitable resource,
began to destroy the natural habitat of these beautiful animals leading them to diminish
dramatically and becoming endangered species.
I really appreciate that there are some people keen on taking care of these animals and
putting a lot of effort to protect them.
I have been travelling extensively around borneo island and I found every place, town,
sanctuary, national park and offshore islands of great interest and very affordable for the
of the best sights in Southeast Asia which I extremely recommend to experience.
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