It’s time for a wildlife immersion day! The first stop was the Orangutan rehabilitation centre which was established in 1964 to help rehabilitate orangutans which had been orphaned. Just like a human baby, the orphaned young orangutan (which would normally live with its mother for 5-6 years) needs to be taught how to cope in the wild, while its health is carefully monitored during rehabilitation. We had read up a lot about this centre as it’s a fantastic centre to help these wild animals but also as it is located in the middle of the jungle not only the inhabitants of the centre come to hang there. There is sometimes up to 40 wild orangutans who come here daily, and this is what I was most looking forward to witnessing.
The centre costs 30 Ringit to enter (10nzd) and then an extra $3 if you have a camera, which to be honest I think is bullshit as they actively ask you to take photos and share them all with them. However, we paid and entered the centre at 9am. We were able to see a lot of the younger orangutans in the nursery and as this was happening, we were called through as 2 curious adult wild orangutans had just came down to have a look. This is what I was most excited for!
We snapped away but mostly I was just fascinated to sit and watch these magnificent animals and how much they relate to humans (97% DNA match). From there we followed the group to the feeding platform and from here were able to see many more as well as a few other monkeys who came down to check things out.
On the way back to the car, this is when the magical happened as one of the adult males decided to follow up the whole way so we were able to snap some shots of him pretty close while he did his thing. It was such a magical experience!
From there we crossed the road to the Sun Bear conservation centre. Probably one of the more difficult animals to see in the Bornean jungle is the Malayan sun bear, with few left in the wild and their extremely shy nature it is incredibly tricky to spot them in the wild. The Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) was established as a sun bear rescue and rehabilitation facility.
Sun bears are the smallest bear in the world that have been rescued from captivity are housed at the facility so that they can be reintroduced into the wild. In some cases where bears have only had interactions with humans prior to rescue they have become so habituated that their chance of release into the wild is greatly diminished. We were told how these have been rescued from being pets as when they are babies they are small and cute and look like puppies but when they grow to adult size people cant cope and then cage them inhumanely.
What we loved most about this centre was that by visiting the centre and paying our entrance fee (31.80ringit, $11NZD pp) our money goes directly back into the project. As an International visitor, our fees almost cover all associated costs with feeding the bears and maintaining the facility! It is a highly recommended activity, doesn’t take a long time to walk both boardwalks and spot some fluffy wee bears. We really enjoyed it and even though we only spent a shirt amount of time here, we were still able to spot about 8 different bears and learn a lot along the way.
Tomorrow we will have yet another wildlife day and this is one I have been looking forward to for a while!