On a recent Land Discoveries shore excursion in Sandakan, Malaysia, we brought our cruisers deep into the mangrove forest to visit two facilities dedicated to the conservation of two endangered species of monkeys, the Orangutan (Ponpo pygmaeus) and Proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus). The Primates of Borneo Tour include visits to The Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre and the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary to witness these incredible animals in their natural habitat.
Departure from the Sandakan pier to Sepilok Forest Reserve to reach the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre took approximately 50 minutes. Before arriving at Sepilok, we were given several instructions in order to have a great time there, including spraying insect repellent on ourselves.
This is the platform where we, along with other local residents, were able to observe the famous Orangutans. It’s quite safe and there were benches for those who preferred to sit while waiting for the Orangutans to show up during scheduled feeding times. It was quite worth the wait. These animals eat just like us: sugar cane, watermelon, and papaya – to name a few!
After watching the Orangutans, we left Sepilok Forest and drove to the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary. Once we arrived, we were instructed to remove our shoes and follow a wooden path in order to see these large bellied monkeys.
It was quite exciting and beautiful to observe the Orangutan and Proboscis monkeys. Though an endangered species, they seemed to be quite a happy bunch. What was the takeaway for this unique experience? No matter the species you belong too, the essence is the same: We all belong to a family.