If you are an animal lover and you happen to be in Sandakan, Sabah, there are three animal centres that you can visit here. These animals are synonymous to the island of Borneo, namely the Proboscis Monkey, Orang Utan and Sun Bear.
When I was in Sandakan with my friends, we went to all three animal centres on the same day. Yes, you can take a day to go to all these three animal centres:
- Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary
- Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre
- Borneon Sun Bear Conservation Centre
The first place we visited that day was the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary. The distance from Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary to Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre and Borneon Sun Bear Conservation Centre is about 22.6km which will take about 27 minutes by car. The Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre and Sun Bear Conservation Centre are only next to each other.
Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary
There are two Feeding Stations at the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary. We went to Feeding Station B. Feeding Station B housed about 80 male and female Proboscis monkeys. The sanctuary is a privately-owned centre located within an oil palm estate.
Inside the sanctuary, you will find a view-point for visitors to see and take pictures of the monkeys, there is a feeding platform and there is also a boardwalk for visitors to get deeper into the estate. You will also find some troops of Silver Leaf Monkeys residing here. These two different monkeys do not mix.
Proboscis monkeys mate typically any time throughout the year. Young are born 160 days after successful mating.
Silver Leaf Monkeys roam freely on the platform. Sometimes the younger Proboscis Monkeys also come to the platform but they mostly play near the trees.
How are Proboscis Monkeys different than other monkeys?
The most distinct difference between a proboscis monkey and other monkeys are their noses. A male proboscis monkey have larger nose than their female counterparts. It is said that the bigger the nose, the more alpha that male proboscis monkey is. Females noses are not as big as the males but are considerably large for a primate.
Platform A: 9.30am – 2.30pm Daily;
Platform B: 11.30am – 4.30pm Daily
With MyKad: RM15 (Adult), RM5 (Below 12 years old)Without MyKad: RM60 (Adult), RM30 (Below 12 years old)
Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre
Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre allows visitors to watch orang utan up-close in their natural habitat. This means, sometimes you might be lucky and get to see an adult orang utan swinging between the large forest trees or eat on the feeding platform and sometimes there might be nothing for you to see the whole day.
Fret not though, apart from the feeding platform, there is a viewing gallery. Viewing gallery houses juvenile orang utans. In 1964, the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre was opened to care for orphaned, displaces or injured orang utans due to logging. There are large climbing frames for the young ones to train at before they are let out to the wild. Many orphans have successfully rehabilitated and released into Kabili-Sepilok Forest, a 4294 hectare virgin jungle reserve that is rich in tropical rainforest and mangrove swamp.
Opening Hours: 9am – 12pm, 2pm – 4pm Daily except Friday; 9am – 11am, 2pm – 4pm Fridays.
With MyKad: RM5 (Above 18 years old), RM2 (Below 18 years old)
Without MyKad: RM30 (Above 18 years old), RM15 (Below 18 years old)
Camera (personal use): RM10 per unitCamera (commercial and professional use): RM1,000 per unit
Film-making equipment: RM10,000 for a period not exceeding 7 consecutive days or part thereof
Borneon Sun Bear Conservation Centre
The Borneon Sun Bear Conservation Centre is located only next to Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre. It is a wildlife conservation and research centre for improving animal welfare and rehabilitation of Malaysian Sun Bears.
You will first walk into the visitor centre to learn more about sun bears, the things they feed on, where to find them, their maximum size and so on so forth. There is a long boardwalk and a few observation platforms in the centre. Some of the sun bears in the centre were rescued, where they were once kept as pets but lived in a deplorable manner.
Rehabilitated sun bears will be released to the wild but captive sun bears cannot be released and is allowed long-term living arrangement at the centre. So far, there are nearly 40 sun bears in the centre. Some of the sun bears that were there since 2010 were integrated into “bear groups” and have access to outdoor enclosures during the day.
Feeding by the public is not allowed, even when the bears come near you asking to be fed. This is to help them in their rehabilitation process before they can be released into the wild.
Opening Hours: 9am – 3.30pm
With MyKad: RM15 (Above 18 years old), RM2 (Between 12-17 years old)Without MyKad: RM30 (Above 18 years old), RM5 (Between 12-17 years old)