Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in the Malaysian Sabah District of North Borneo was founded in 1964, to rehabilitate orphan orangutans. The site is 43 sq km of protected land at the edge of Kabili Sepilok Forest Reserve.
Today around 60 to 80 orangutans are living free in the reserve.
Johan Ernst Nilson visited the centre while travelling across the wilderness of Borneo and totally fell in love with the fantastic creatures of the forrest. The facility provides medical care for orphaned and confiscated orangutans as well as dozens of other wildlife species. Some of the other animals which have been treated at the centre include; sun bears, gibbons, Sumatran rhinos and the occasional injured elephant.Â The creation of reserve areas minimises the impact of deforestation on orangutans and far fewer young apes become the victim of the illegal pet trade as a result of these â€˜sanctuariesâ€™. Babies are often caught during logging or forest clearance or captured by poachers who slaughter the adult apes to reach them. The Malaysian Government has clamped down on illegal trading, outlawing all such practice and imposing prison sentences on anyone caught keeping them as pets.