Orang utans are in trouble. Many of these wonderful, peaceful primates are killed by poachers, captured for the live animal trade, or driven out of their forest habitat by illegal logging and the world’s thirst for palm oil. Add in the frequent forest fires that roar, burn and crackle through their vital habitat, and there’s little wonder that their numbers are plummeting.
Thank heavens, then, for places such as the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, 30km from Kuching on the island of Borneo. In this beautiful part of Sarawak, the centre rehabilitates wild orang utans that have been injured, orphaned or rescued from captivity.
It takes up to four years to rehabilitate one of these magnificent animals – by which time it will have learned (or re-learned) to climb trees, swing on branches and forage for food. When it’s able to fend for itself, it’s released into the surrounding Forest Reserve.
The Semenggoh Nature Reserve is open to the public for a couple of hours in the mornings and again in the afternoons. It’s a rare opportunity to see one of the most endangered animals on the planet – and you’ll leave with memories of these hauntingly gentle creatures that will last a lifetime.