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Published: August 26th 2013
The first Orangutan to arrive for feeding
I wasn't planning to visit Sepilok as I would have another opportunity to visit Orangutans outside Kuching, and I wanted to do a river cruise. Luckily a couple of girls I met in the hostel were going to Sepilok and they tempted me to join them. I'm extremely glad they did!
We started the day by cramming passengers into the car - just a slight squeeze - then headed off off the 45 minute trip to Sepilok. Once we got there we had to put all of our stuff except cameras in a locker so the Orangutans wouldn't steal it inside the centre.
After a short walk, along which we spotted the trees shaking with small monkeys jumping around, we got to the viewing area by the Orangutan feeding station. It was already very busy, despite us being there 15 minutes early, and I was lucky enough to get the last spot along the barrier at the front. We didn't have to wait long before one of the ropes leading to the feeding platform started to shake, indicating that an Orangutan was approaching! Once the first Orangutan came into view it wasn't long before she was joined by others
from every direction, totalling 7 Orangutans all waiting for the ranger to bring their food. He soon came with a selection of fruits and vegetables, and the Orangutans wasted no time in getting stuck in.
The Orangutans were there, in varying numbers, for around an hour, meaning I got plenty of time to both watch and photograph them. It's amazing how similar humans and Orangutans are. I know we share over 96% DNA, but I was just amazed at how similar our movements and manerisms are.
Once all the Orangutans were full and had wandered off we went 20 mins down the road to a rainforest area with various canopy walks and board walks. After walking about 800m we got to our first observation tower, and as we were approaching it a nearby tree started to shake, prompting us to run up the tower, to be met by an Orangutan very close in the trees. This alone made the long hot walk here well worth it! the Orangutan was a proper little poser, and in the almost hour we spent with her she only moved closer! I was amazed at how close I got to her - 2m
away at one point - and found it really hard to walk away when we had to leave for lunch and the afternoon feed at Sepilok. Luckily soon after we agreed to leave our new friend decided it was time to move on too, and started to head off. That made walking way from a once in a lifetime situation much easier!
When we headed back to Sepilok for the afternoon feed it was much quiter, so much so that we could sit down by the railing at the front for the entire feeding session. When we first arrived we were greeted by a group of long tailed macaques, obviously waiting for a free feed! It took a while before the Orangutans arrived, one appeared with the ranger, then more came in soon after. The Orangutans and macaques had a few squabbles over food but the Orangutans let the macaques have some food once they had chosen the best bits! My camera died during the final feed, which just meant I had to sit back and enjoy the view.
I'm so glad that I decided to go to Sepilok, I had a great day and saw some amazing
sights, and had a couple of once in a lifetime encounters with the Orangutans. All in all it was a great day.
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