The Sepilok Mothers and Babies

Happy Mother's Day to our UK and Ireland Supporters!

Mum And Baby

Mothers are very important in the orangutan world too! The bond between a mother orangutan and her baby is very strong. A young orangutan will typically spend 6-8 years with its mum learning all of the skills it will need to live independently in the rainforest. This will include everything, from which fruits to eat, how to climb and how to build a nest to sleep in.

Peanut Boogie Bonnie

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre rehabilitates orphaned orangutans that have sadly lost their mothers. Without receiving guidance and care, in their mother’s place, orphaned orangutans could not survive and learn the skills that they need for an independent future. The rehabilitation process is very involved and can take quite a number of years for each individual orangutan.

Clenan And Awang

Once the orphans are rehabilitated successfully they are often released into the Kabili reserve which surrounds Sepilok. This means that they are free to pop back to the centre if they choose to and sometimes they bring along offspring of their own! These wild born babies are a joy to see and testament to the great work that Sepilok are doing to help increase orangutan numbers and widen the gene pool.

Awang Thumbs Up 10 2015

There are currently several rehabilitated orangutans with young babies who swing by the feeding platforms as we have mentioned in our earlier blog posts. It is fantastic to see the skills of rehabilitated orangutans being passed onto a new generation.


Mother orangutans Clenan, Mimi and Mariko spend quite a lot of time together at the feeding platforms and their babies seem to like playing with each other too! Clenan’s baby girl Awantang was born in July 2013. She is becoming quite confident now and is often seen playing with other youngsters such as orphans Chikita and Gelison. She is still quite small but is developing well and Clenan (pictured right) is a doting mother to her.


Mariko (pictured left) had a baby girl in April 2016. She is often difficult to spot as she clings tightly to her mother under her beautiful long hair. However, more recently she has been starting to let go of Mariko for the first time and playing more independently. It is good to see that her baby is strong and healthy.


Mimi had a baby boy in September 2016. (Pictured right) He is still only six months old and completely dependent on his mum but appears to be doing well so far too.

Due to spending so much time nurturing each of their offspring a female orangutan may have just two or three babies in her lifetime. This means that orangutans as a species struggle to repopulate as their numbers decline. It is great to witness these successful mother orangutans and their youngsters at Sepilok but there is still a lot for us to do to secure a better future for our critically endangered cousins!