On Monday morning, we boarded the run down public bus headed for the Semenggoh Nature Reserve. The park opened over 20 years ago and serves as a rehabilitation center for young ornag utans who have been orpahned or rescued from captivity. The program aims to teach these orang utans how to survive in the wild. Semenggoh keeps the orang utans in semi-captivity, meaning that they are free to roam the surrounding forests but have the option to come back to headquarters for a free and easy meal twice a day. Because of this, visitors are advised to visit during feeding times but are not guaranteed to see any animals. When the surrounding trees are fruiting the odds of seeing an orang utan come to the feeding platform drop significantly. In all reality, we should be happy when no ornag utans show up for feeding time which would prove the success of the program in reintroducing them into the wild.
But this wasn't the case on Monday. We wandered through the park from the bus stop up to the park headquarters and already we were staring into the tree tops at a baby orang utan climbing around on branches while occasionally
going back to its sleeping nest in an attempt to get its mother up and moving for the day. Initially we were ecstatic to see we were two of the six visitors there that morning. That quickly faded when hoards of people clamored down the hill to the feeding platform. Rats. I guess that's the downfall of being here during peak tourist season.
Despite this, the experience was amazing. We got to see orang utans closer than I ever would have expected. Several times we had to move out of the the way to let one pass by! We saw two mothers with their babies and a few other females. No males though. They're independent enough to not need to come to the feeding platform.
Although it was a bit sad to see that this is what it's come down to to ensure these amazing animals don't go extinct, I loved the experience. Some hate it saying it's too much of a zoo-like setting, and it is a bit zoo-ish but at least the orang utans there are alive and doing well.
I would recommend to anyone visiting Kuching to pay a visit to this park. It's
This is how open this place is!
We weren't allowed to stand under them, obviously.
$1 to get in and less than $2 roundtrip transportation from downtown Kuching.
I'll let the pictures explain what we got to see!
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