Refurbishment of Nursery Exercise Enclosure

The refurbished exercise enclosure

Over the last six months, the Appeal has been raising funds for the refurbishment of the nursery exercise enclosure.

The provision of an exercise enclosure for the orphaned babies at Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre was the Appeal’s very first project in 2001. The enclosure was not only funded by our Chairperson Sue Sheward, but with the help of Chester Zoo, who assigned two orangutan keepers and a cage builder to the project, travelled out to Sabah and spent a week actually building it. Sue was determined that the giant ‘play pen’ would be completed within a week, despite claims that it just could not be done. Working tirelessly in the gruelling heat of 36 degrees with 95% humidity was probably the hardest task the team had ever undertaken, but needless to say it was completed on schedule!

The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and the orangutans were delighted with the new facility, especially as the babies had previously been confined to small cages where they could hardly stand let alone climb or exercise.

Even the Director of the Sabah Wildlife Department heard about the ‘crazy English people’ working through the heat of the day to build the new enclosure, and made a special journey to the Centre to inspect their work. As a result, the Director gave Sue permission to be the chosen charity to represent the Centre from then on.

Since then, the exercise enclosure has been extremely beneficial to the young orangutans that live at Centre. It has meant that each day, they can practice their climbing skills in safety. Without this facility their progress on the rehabilitation program would have been seriously impeded.

The exercise enclosure has served very well over the years, but due to the corrosive weather in Borneo the metal has worn away and needed to be refurbished in 2008 and once again this year.

This time, we have repaired the enclosure using stainless steel which is obviously much more expensive but will not corrode so easily and we hope that it will last for many years to come!