20 kilometres from Kuching, Semenggoh Nature Reserve is home to a colony of semi-wild orangutans who are trained and used to human encounters. The Semenggoh Wildlife Centre (SWC) of Semenggoh Nature Reserve is by far the biggest Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sarawak.
Established in 1975, the centre act as a sanctuary for Orangutans who are injured, orphaned or being kept illegally as pets. Those days, SWC also conduct research on wildlife and captive breeding program for the endangered species as well as educate the visitor about the importance of conservation.
Semenggoh Wildlife Centre was previously known as Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, the name was changed in 2000 and all animals have either been released to the wild or sent to Matang Wildlife Centre.
Currently, SWC act as quarantine or transit centre of wildlife before they send to Matang.
Today, orangutans have long been the most admired species at Semenggoh besides houses various rare flora and fauna. It is known to be inhabited by a large variety of birds, of which most are migrants.
Semenggoh Wildlife Centre Attractions
SEMENGGOH ORANGUTAN GALLERY
Learn fascinating facts about the Orangutans, human’s closest relatives that share nearly 97% of the same DNA. There are charts and visual designs to educate visitors on the differences between male and female orangutans, their life cycle, eating and living habits.
Also, learn about the orangutan conservation in Semenggoh and Sarawak as a whole.
SEMI-WILD ORANGUTAN OF SEMENGGOH
Semenggoh’s main attraction for visitors is its Wildlife Centre, where endangered species, once kept illegally as pets are trained on how to fend for themselves before being released into the forest. Over the years, a number of orangutans have been trained and released and now form a semi-wild colony in the reserve.
There are currently around 35 orangutans been spotted at the reserve area and the orangutans will occasionally swing down from the trees for a free handout of fruit. It is one of the few places in the world where humans can interact with their shy jungle cousins.
However, when food is plentiful in the forest during fruiting season, they might not come down for the handouts at all.
ORANGUTAN FEEDING TIME
There are two feeding hours per day, once in the morning (9.00 am – 10.00 am) and once in the afternoon (3.00 pm – 4.00 pm).
However, feeding of orangutans does not guarantee the sighting of the red apes.
BOTANICAL RESEARCH CENTRE
The research centre consists of an orchid nursery, ethnobotanical gardens, a fruit orchard, a neat fernarium, a bamboo garden and also a nice pond with floating pavilion. Visitors will get the see a wide range of plants, both originating from local and international. Visitors who love flora will definitely admire this nature reserve.
OPEN DAILY INCLUDING PUBLIC HOLIDAY
Morning : 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Afternoon : 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
ORANGUTAN FEEDING TIME
Orangutans spend at least 60% of their daylight hours eating and searching for food. Their diet consists of 300 different kinds of fruit such as barks, honey, young shoots, insects and occasional bird egg and small vertebrae. Fruits make up 60% of the orangutan's diet.
As the 653 hectares of the forest does not supply enough wild food for all the orangutans in the Reserve, feeding is still carried out to supplement their diet.
The orangutan with its large body has a large appetite and 1-mile square radius of the average rainforest can only support a low population density of about 2.5 orangutans.
Morning Session : 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Afternoon Session : 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Do note that sighting of individual or group of orangutans is not always guaranteed during feeding times and sometimes, the orangutans are being fed earlier if they have been spotted.
From what we understand, most of them are quite shy and they seldomly ‘wait’ for a long time.
Our experience early this month (July); we spotted 3 of them at two different feeding point. Anuar; the dominant male, Salina and her baby; Sem and one other orangutan. Only Anuar hang around a bit longer.
Most of the Orangutans in Semenggoh are the results of SWC rehabilitation programme and they rehabilitated the Orangutans found in captivity to adapt in the world so they can survive on their own.