Latest Release at Sepilok


In spring 2008 5 of the young orangutans which had been living in the nursery at Sepilok were ready to be released into the Kabili forest which surrounds the centre. Each orangutan had a very different history.


Hope – a 7 year old female – had been at Sepilok since she was brought there by a local villager as she had been found on a Durian plantation in the village of Bukit Garam. She was only about a year old and the villager decided to try and look after her but within a week the rope he used to tie her up had made a wound on her stomach. This needed immediate treatment so she was brought to Sepilok.



Joey – a 5 year old male – arrived at the centre in May 2003 and was only 2 months old. Luckily a ranger trekking near the village of Sukau came across him on a palm oil plantation. There was no sign of his mother and he certainly could not survive without her so he was brought to Sepilok



Ganang – a 5 year old female – has only been living at Sepilok for the last year. She was surrendered to centre after being kept as a pet for 3 years by villagers near Sandakan. Although showing human tendencies she was in good condition and is now ready to face the next stage of her rehabilitation.



Otan – a 5 year old female – only arrived at Sepilok in October 2007. She had been rescued from a village by Sepilok’s senior ranger Elis where she had been kept as a pet for a year.

All four youngsters were given thorough health checks by Dr Cecilia, then micro-chiped and tattooed – as this is the only way to identify each individual. It was now time to transfer them to the introduction enclosure on the edge of the forest which is known as the “outdoor nursery”.

The four would stay here getting acclimatised to their new surroundings for a week. This time also gives the residents of the reserve the opportunity of coming to meet them without risk of harm to the youngsters.

Our tracking team was alerted to be ready for the next release as it would be their duty to follow them at a distance to make sure they were all coping well. The team report back to the clinic on a daily basis during these first few weeks.

Eventually it was time to move onto the next stage – release into the reserve and each reacted very differently. Otan and Hope were somewhat cautious checking out their immediate surroundings before venturing further. By the second day Otan was becoming more confident and was seen to be making a nest in a nearby tree.

Ganang didn’t even hesitate once the enclosure door was opened for them she headed straight into the forest and climbed a very tall tree and was later seen playing with some of the residents of the forest.

Joey too was eager to face his new life and headed off into the forest. He was seen with a large male later that day who was carrying him off but no harm came to him and it seemed just to make him more confident. He is now a regular visitor to the feeding platform.

The tracking team will keep an eye on the new releases and watch them as their confidence and ability grows and will be reporting back to us just how well they are coping!