Sepilok Orang-Utan Rehabilitation Centre (SORC)
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Jln Sepilok · interesting places nearby
Sepilok Orang-Utan Rehabilitation Centre (SORC) information
One of only four orangutan sanctuaries in the world, occupies a corner of the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve about 25km north of Sandakan. The centre was established in 1964; it now covers 40 sq km and has become one of Sabah's top tourist attractions, second only to Mt Kinabalu.
Orphaned and injured orangutans are brought to Sepilok to be rehabilitated to return to forest life. We have to stress: while thousands of people see orangutans during feeding time at Sepilok, there is a chance you won't. These are, after all, wild animals. On the bright side, there are two major feeding times a day, so if you miss them in the morning, you can always try again in the afternoon (or the next day).
Feedings are at 10am and 3pm and last 30 to 50 minutes. Schedules are posted at the visitor reception centre . Tickets are valid for one day, although you can see two feedings in the same day. The morning feeding tends to be more tour-group heavy, so if you want a quieter experience, try the afternoon. Use the lockers provided for your valuables – orangutans and macaques have been known to relieve tourists of hats, bags, sunglasses, cameras, even clothing. It's especially important that you don't bring any containers of insect repellent into the reserve, as these are highly toxic to the apes and other wildlife. Spray yourself before entering.
Nature Education Centre
A worthwhile 20-minute video about Sepilok's work is shown five times daily (9am, 11am, noon, 2.10pm and 3.30pm) opposite reception in the auditorium here.
If you want to explore the sanctuary further, several walking trails lead into the forest; register at the visitor reception centre to use them. Trails range in length from 250m to 4km, and different paths are open at different times of year. Guided night walks can be arranged through the centre or at the various lodges. There's also a 10km trail through mangrove forest to Sepilok Bay ; this is quite a rewarding walk, and if you're especially fit you may be able to complete it between feeding times. A permit from the Forestry Department is required in advance for this route. The department can also arrange basic overnight accommodation at the bay (RM100) or a boat back to Sandakan. Some travel or tour agencies can assist with the permit and other arrangements.