SEPILOK NEWS Feb 2013

Matimus Up On Cage 1

One orangutan made this delightful umbrella in an effort to keep off some of the rain.

Rain and flooding is miserable at the best of times, but there are always brighter moments when you are working with orangutans and that moment came for Paul Bowers, (Liaison Officer) last Christmas, when he spotted Sogo on the roof of the cafe.

Past adoptive parents of Sogo will be pleased to know that she has come on in leaps and bounds and definitely won't take any nonsense from the other residents at the centre. On this occasion she was showing her displeasure by grabbing handfuls of leaves from the gutters and throwing them down onto a troublesome dog who was barking at her.

Other young orangutans such as Tobby are not quite so gentle in their mischief-making. Tobby and Ann are currently the talk of the centre as they are considered to be Sepilok's "Bonnie and Clyde" who will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. Ann recently bit the leg of one of the local staff and left a very sore looking wound.

Tobby in particular is a very smart orangutan. During a recent downpour at the feeding platform, the visitors were looking for places to stand which would offer a little cover. Many started to move off the platform only to be met by the grinning Tobby casually sauntering towards them along the walkway. He moved so elegantly, with such purpose and then casually slipped his long arm around the neck of a local man and pulled the chap towards him. Initially it was thought to be a token of friendship but instead Tobby thrust his hand into the visitor's pocket and tried to steal his wallet! Fortunately the visitor hung on to his belongings and Tobby went about his business somewhat crestfallen.

Sadly, an American tourist ignored all warnings about taking his umbrella with him to the feeding platform and was rather surprised when Tobby took it from him and started to pose with it to the amusement of all watching. Needless to say when it was finally recovered it was in a state of disrepair but the American donated 50RM to say thank you for the experience.

Tobby and Ann took their mischief to a higher level when they managed to make a hole in the roof of the clinic. Not satisfied with that, they then decided to see what was inside and, in the process, disturbed the wiring in the roof space. In the early hours of Sunday morning, a fire broke out but fortunately it was confined to the corridor outside Dr Nigel's office so no people or orangutans were injured in the blaze. The one good thing that has come out of this is the recognition of a need for a fire sprinkler system to be installed, which is being done urgently.

It is very unusual for a visitor to leave Sepilok without some good memories and once again this year there have been more than 100,000 visitors - an amazing achievement.