Protecting Orangutans and their habitat is a global responsibility

Rasa Ria Nature Interpretation Centre (NIC) – Sabah

Introduction

The Orangutan is a highly endangered species of great ape whose existence is threatened by wanton habitat destruction through logging and forest fires.

They are 97% human like.

The prime reason for logging the natural habitat is to enable the planting of Palm oil plantations, which oil product is used in many everyday items such as some noodles and chocolate. This action causes many Orangutans to be displaced, orphaned and hunters unfortunately also target this magnificent and very intelligent animal.

Under the watchful eye of the Sabah Wildlife Department, the young orphaned Orangutans are taken to the Rasa Ria Nature reserve and are undergoing the first stage of rehabilitation.

Over a period of 3-5 years they are being prepared for the second stage of rehabilitation at the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sepilok, Sandakan. This centre is the biggest of it’s kind in the world.

Once the two phases of rehabilitation are completed, the orangutans will then be carefully guided back to their natural habitats in the wild.

Rasa Ria encourages visits to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre where large adult orangutans, both male and female, are frequently sighted. They hope the visits to Rasa Ria and Sepilok will raise appreciation towards Sabah’s immense efforts in protecting these wonderful animals.

Touring the Nature Interpretation Centre

Upon arrival at the NIC, we are seated and the famous documentary, Man of the Forest, part of the Orangutan UK Appeal, is shown. The 20min doco gives viewers a detailed insight into the challenges faced by the orangutan and the great work carried out by Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre, which is giving the Orangutan a ray of hope.

Following a tour of the NIC facility we then commence our 1-hour trek deep into the jungle to catch a glimpse of some of the reserves latest arrivals.

As we climb steeply up a narrow track we see a raised timber deck, a feeding station, connected by a series of ropes crossing the jungle canopy.

As young orangutans do not yet have the ability to source their own food, rangers provide regular meals to the young orangutans via the feed stations.

While we are standing on the deck, more than five baby orangutans come swinging through the jungle, across the canopy above our heads, they are fast, funny and do look like old men.

We are lucky they feel safe enough to come very close to us, the ranger advises that in the reserve we do not touch the orangutans, just being close is a special feeling. They stay for about 30 mins and then slowly swing away, disappearing into he jungle.

Continuing along the path we trek for another 30-45 mins traversing along a 40mt high canopy walkway seeking out other local flora and fauna. We came across Monkey’s, turtles and many types of butterflies.

Rasa Ria and the local rangers’ fantastic efforts in educating visitors and protecting and rescuing displaced orangutans is world known, their commitment, passion and continuing efforts are giving the orangutans of Borneo a ray of hope.

In Australia and across the world many organizations are also assisting the orangutan’s plight.

Studio Green provides sponsorship support to Katie, Wulan, Cinta and Ten Ten through the Rasa Ria NIC.

Images are available via here

Please see the below links for ways you can add your support.

http://www.zoo.org.au/Borneo

http://www.zoo.org.au/PalmOil

http://www.orangutan-appeal.org.uk/