Heather's Thairy

Heather's journey to Bangkok, Thailand: a year of adventure!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Vacation Day 9: Sepilok Rehabilition Center

After we had seen the nesting turtles, we took a boat back to the main island and then a van to the Orangutan Rehabilitation Center. There are two feeding times, one at 10:30 AM and one in the afternoon- we had already pre-booked a bus from Sepilok to Kota Kinabalu for 2 PM so we had to make the morning feeding.
Our run of great luck with weather ran out on Day 9, with the skies opening and tons of rain falling all morning and into the afternoon. This was unfortunate, since we were scheduled to see the orangutans that day!

Undaunted, we put on our plastic bags- I mean, our emergency rain ponchos- and headed out into the downpour. We weren't sure if the orangutans would make an appearance- we weren't too thrilled to be out in the rain and we weren't convinced that the bananas that the staff member chucked up onto the platform would be enough to bring the orangutans out- but we were happily surprised by three orangutans after about a twenty minute wait.


It was worth the discomfort: the orangutans appear out of nowhere, it seems, and help themselves to the food that is placed out for them. The way that the rehab center works is orangutans that are injured or orphaned or otherwise compromised are rescued and treated at the facility until they are able to return to the wild. Some return to the feeding platform regularly, some are never seen again. It is not possible to tag the orangutans to see where they are and track their movements because they simply rip the tags off. This is dangerous because they can become infected where the tag was removed.


The center is very comprehensive in educating the public about their programs and their goals. It was an amazing place and I was really appreciative of the way it is
set up and run: the animals' well-being is first and foremost.
After our visit to the center we headed up the road to catch our next bus back to Kota Kinabalu!

Until next time,
Heather

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