New Jungle Gym

Michelle Gives The Thumbs Up

The Appeal’s first project back in 2002 was to provide an exercise enclosure for the young orphans in Sepilok’s nursery. Over the years we have updated this facility and our latest project in the nursery is the addition of a new ‘Jungle Gym’.

The Gym has been designed by resident vet Dr Cecilia, and incorporates many of the exercise structures from the previous area.

The new Jungle Gym covers a greater area and has been built on the edge of the forest to encourage the orangutans to climb higher and further into the trees. There are mini platforms which they can access by using the network of ropes. There are also hanging ropes to simulate vines and jungle lianas. The new structures encourage the vital skills of climbing, swinging and foraging for food, as well as teaching them to keep high off the ground away from predators.

Sen and Ceria were among the first orangutans to use the new area, and within minutes they were climbing high up to the mini platforms. Michelle, a new arrival at the centre, likes to show everyone how confident a climber she is, and it can be tricky to encourage her down again!

As this group matures, they will progress into the ‘senior’ jungle gym, where they begin to depend less on ropes and more on the vines and branches of the natural trees in the reserve. After that they progress into the depths of the reserve to begin their life in the wild, learning more skills from the older orangutans around them. This is why it is so vital to practice the simple skills early on, building their confidence from a very early age.