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Sepilok Wildlife

April 13, 2018 Friday – Sandakan to Sepilok, Sabah

2018 Borneo tour

I am up at 6AM and put my bag out to be picked up before I leave to have breakfast. The hotel has a self-serve super-automatic espresso machine, so I have two cappuccinos along with some fruit, yogurt, and pastries. I check out and board the bus by 8AM.

Proboscis Monkey drinking water
Proboscis Monkey drinking water

Everyone is onboard ahead of time, so we leave at 7:50AM for the one hour drive to the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary in time for the first feeding at 9:30AM. This is a private sanctuary for the monkeys operated by a palm plantation owner. Everyone in the group take fantastic photos and video of the monkeys, since they are only a few metres away from us. The monkeys are well-behaved, not aggressive at all.

After we have lunch in the highlands at the classic English Tea House & Garden, we drive to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, arriving in time to see the afternoon feeding. As always, our guides are well-organized and ensure everyone is at the feeding platforms ahead of the crowds, so our group all take some wonderful photos and video.

Kinabatangan, Sandakan & Sepilok area map
Kinabatangan, Sandakan & Sepilok area map

We then check in at the nearby MY Nature Resort. This is another resort run by the same company as our last lodge on the river. This travel company also supplies the guides and boats we have been using. This is a very nice resort, and thankfully the chalets are very roomy and have air conditioning, so it is much more comfortable to sleep at night.

Our guides conduct another night walk at the nearby Rainforest Discovery Centre, but again I pass on the opportunity since leeches are a very real risk at that location.

April 14, 2018 Saturday – Sepilok Orangutans and Sun Bears

Orangutan mother and baby eating a coconut at the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre
Orangutan mother and baby eating a coconut at the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre

After breakfast, we spend the full day at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, seeing both the morning and afternoon feeding of the organgutans. We also see the nursery, where young orphan orangutans are socialized, taught how to forage and build nests, and build up their strength. They are encouraged to explore the adjacent rainforest sanctuary, since there are no fences or barriers. For their own safety, they are housed in a nursery building at night. After about four years, they are released to a protected area if the staff are convinced they have the skills to survive in the wild.

Two Sun Bears on a stump
Two Sun Bears on a stump

We also visit the adjacent Sun Bear Conservation Centre. These small, cute bears encounter the same issues as orangutans – encroachment of human settlements on their rainforest habitat, poaching, and locals keeping them as pets. The CEO and Founder of the Centre is Dr. Wong Siew Te, who gives us a personalized tour. We are fortunate to see three of the Sun Bears come out of the bush and literally pose for us on a stump right in front of the viewing platform.

Borneo Rain Forest
  • Proboscis monkey in a tree on the Brunei River
    Proboscis monkey in a tree on the Brunei River
  • Proboscis monkey in a tree on the Brunei River
    Proboscis monkey in a tree on the Brunei River
  • Proboscis monkey in a tree on the Brunei River
    Proboscis monkey in a tree on the Brunei River
  • Our guide finds fresh dung from Pygmy Elephants
    Our guide finds fresh dung from Pygmy Elephants
  • Stork-billed Kingfisher
    Stork-billed Kingfisher
  • Female Proboscis monkey in a tree
    Female Proboscis monkey in a tree
  • A local fisher on a tributary of the Kinabatangan  River.
    A local fisher on a tributary of the Kinabatangan River.
  • Male Blue-eared Kingfisher
    Male Blue-eared Kingfisher
  • Male Blue-eared Kingfisher
    Male Blue-eared Kingfisher
  • Black and red Broadbill
    Black and red Broadbill
  • Chestnut-breasted Malkoha
    Chestnut-breasted Malkoha
  • Oriental Darter
    Oriental Darter
  • Silver Langur
    Silver Langur
  • Proboscis monkey on a tree limb in profile
    Proboscis monkey on a tree limb in profile
  • Wrinkled Hornbill
    Wrinkled Hornbill
  • Monitor Lizard
    Monitor Lizard
  • A wet Oriental Darter
    A wet Oriental Darter
  • Orangutan bridge across the river
    Orangutan bridge across the river
  • Female Proboscis monkey feeding in the morning
    Female Proboscis monkey feeding in the morning
  • Cattle Egret in breeding plumage
    Cattle Egret in breeding plumage
  • A pair of Hornbills
    A pair of Hornbills
  • Black and red Broadbill near it's nest
    Black and red Broadbill near it’s nest
  • A young Crocodile
    A young Crocodile
  • A crocodile on the Kinabatangan River
    A crocodile on the Kinabatangan River
  • A spotted brown butterfly on some orange blossoms at our rest stop
    A spotted brown butterfly on some orange blossoms at our rest stop
  • Macaque monkey at our rest stop
    Macaque monkey at our rest stop
  • Proboscis Monkey drinking water
    Proboscis Monkey drinking water
  • Male Proboscis Monkey in profile
    Male Proboscis Monkey in profile
  • Male Proboscis Monkey
    Male Proboscis Monkey
  • Proboscis Monkeys feeding
    Proboscis Monkeys feeding
  • Dog-faced Water snake
    Dog-faced Water snake
  • Our group taking photos of the Proboscis Monkeys
    Our group taking photos of the Proboscis Monkeys
  • Orangutan mother and baby
    Orangutan mother and baby
  • Orangutans
    Orangutans
  • Orangutan hanging on the feeding station
    Orangutan hanging on the feeding station
  • Orangutans at the feeding station
    Orangutans at the feeding station
  • Yellow and purple flowers on a bush
    Yellow and purple flowers on a bush
  • The resort retaurant
    The resort retaurant
  • Chalets/rooms and gardens at the resort
    Chalets/rooms and gardens at the resort
  • Male Pigtailed Macaque monkey walking a rope to the Orangutan  feeding station
    Male Pigtailed Macaque monkey walking a rope to the Orangutan feeding station
  • Young Pigtailed Macaque monkey walking a rope to the Orangutan  feeding station
    Young Pigtailed Macaque monkey walking a rope to the Orangutan feeding station
  • A trio of Pigtailed Macaque monkeys waiting at the feeding station
    A trio of Pigtailed Macaque monkeys waiting at the feeding station
  • Young orphaned Orangutans in the nursery area
    Young orphaned Orangutans in the nursery area
  • A poisonous red bug on the walkway
    A poisonous red bug on the walkway
  • A Sun Bear on a stump
    A Sun Bear on a stump
  • Two Sun Bears on a stump
    Two Sun Bears on a stump
  • Two Sun Bears on a stump
    Two Sun Bears on a stump
  • Orangutan on the feeding platform
    Orangutan on the feeding platform
  • Orangutan hanging on the ropes
    Orangutan hanging on the ropes
  • Orangutan reclining on the feeding platform
    Orangutan reclining on the feeding platform
  • Orangutan reclining on the feeding platform
    Orangutan reclining on the feeding platform
  • Orangutan sitting on the feeding platform
    Orangutan sitting on the feeding platform
  • Orangutan in a tree
    Orangutan in a tree
  • Orangutan in a tree
    Orangutan in a tree
  • Mimi, the Orangutan walking along the walkway railing in front of a group of people
    Mimi, the Orangutan walking along the walkway railing in front of a group of people
  • Mimi, the Orangutan in the bush beside the walkway
    Mimi, the Orangutan in the bush beside the walkway
  • Sunset over the rainforest behind the resort
    Sunset over the rainforest behind the resort
  • Orangutan mother and baby
    Orangutan mother and baby
  • Orangutan mother and baby
    Orangutan mother and baby
  • Orangutan mother and baby
    Orangutan mother and baby
  • Orangutan mother and baby
    Orangutan mother and baby
  • Orangutan mother and baby eating a coconut
    Orangutan mother and baby eating a coconut
  • List of Orangutan spottings in the sanctuary
    List of Orangutan spottings in the sanctuary
  • Very big Crocodile
    Very big Crocodile
  • Ferns on the forest floor
    Ferns on the forest floor
  • Our guide Lemon leads us up the hill to the start of the canopy cable walkway
    Our guide Lemon leads us up the hill to the start of the canopy cable walkway
  • Our group crosses the cable walkway
    Our group crosses the cable walkway
  • Looking down on the cable walkway
    Looking down on the cable walkway
  • The view of the rainforest and lake from the cable walkway
    The view of the rainforest and lake from the cable walkway
  • Red flowering bush
    Red flowering bush

Borneo Rain Forest – galleryslideshow