A visit with the relatives

One of the best things to do in Sarawak, some people say the only thing to do in Sarawak, although we disagree, is a trip to the Semengoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, just outside of Kuching.

It’s meant to be a center for the rehabilitate of wild animals who have been injured or orphaned back into the wild, but really it’s the orangutan program that’s made it famous.

Friendly reminder

Twice a day, from 9am and then again at 3pm, the humans start to congregate together in the car park. From all over the world and with all kinds of cameras.

Car park pilgrims

It’s just 24klms from the center of Kuching, and it seems impossible that this could happen. How can they still be living here, so close to humanity and still be in the wild. We can hear planes flying overhead, motorcycles buzzing off somewhere in the distance and yet as we stand around, and without any warning, the trees start to shake and tremble, and soon a mother with a lively young baby come swinging out of the forest.

orangutan baby

By now the car park is pretty full, the stars of the show don’t seem to take any interest in the humans, and the baby orangutans are way better behaved than the baby humans. ( and some of their parents.)

Baby orangutan.

The guide, who really must have the best jobs in the world, slowly convinces the mother to come down to ground level, and as she comes down, her baby follows.

Mother and guide

Mother checks the scene.

Soon both mother and baby are down and edging towards the feeding platform.

Mother and child

It’s great to see, and Annie starts to tear up as the little family group move off behind the guide, and on towards the food they have out. We wonder about the food they leave out, eggs, bread rolls, bananas and watermelon, none of which seems too, “rainforest natural”, but I guess they know what they’re doing.

Guide and family group

Soon another mother and baby arrive for their breakfast as well, and we all stand around transfixed for a half hour or more watching their antics, the babies playfully swinging from branch to branch and mock fighting each other while the mums ignore everything, each other, the humans and their children.

They all soon drift back into the forest, leaving us all wanting more, so the guides direct us over to another viewing area, across the car park and a short walk through the forest.

Here we get introduced to the bigger members of the group. The teenagers and the rest of the gang.  It’s a bit further away and my little Canon can’t cope with the distance, but still close enough for us to all enjoy the spectacle.

From a distance

The crowd has grown now as the late stragglers arrive and we number around 50 or so, most respectful of the request for silence, the feeding session lasts around 40 minutes and, at 10 Ringgits, is one of the best value deals in Malaysia. A great thing to see and we’d say put it on your bucket list.

Lens envy





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