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March 12, 2010
February 9, 2005
First of all, Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Center is not a zoo or a place to interact with animals, so you zoo lovers may be disappointed. It is an excellent place to learn about animal rehab and its place in Borneo, though. This is an actual working, and much needed, wildlife rehabilitation center that is helping sick and domesticated wildlife return to the jungle. Semenggoh specializes in Orangutan rehab, but there are also other animals, like crocodiles, monkeys, and birds, here. Conservation is a relatively new thing in Southeast Asia, but with places like this, you can really see that they are starting to take it seriously. Some studies show that the Orangutan population has decreased by as much as 50% in the past 10 years due to hunting and deforestation, and it’s nice to see a place doing something about it.
The orangutans run semi-wild throughout the park, although they can be photographed easily at feeding time (call ahead to figure out feeding time). Most of them are partway through the rehab and rely on the humans for only part of their food. The nice aspect of this place is that you won’t see them caged up, but in their natural environment. You will often see them swinging gracefully through the trees or resting on a branch, although a few that have been domesticated for a long time get pretty close to the people. Remember that these are still wild animals, though, and massively powerful.
Some of the other animals, like crocodiles and birds, are caged up, but in natural-type environments. All of them are working their way into reintroduction into the ecosystem.
There is also a small set of jungle trails to hike through. While they aren’t as extensive as many of the other areas in Borneo, you can still get a decent taste of the jungle. The trails are all of an "improved" quality, and most people won’t have trouble with them.
There are no refreshments available in the area, so you would be advised to bring your own. Be careful about bringing anything that may attract the animals, though, as they are trying to reduce the dependence on humans here. They also didn’t allow cameras with the flash on, as it can excite the animals, so take extra caution to turn yours off.
It is a short drive outside of Kuching, and many tour operators or tourist information places will be able to get you there. There is no entrance fee, but calling ahead is advised. They are also closed between noon and 2pm, so take that into consideration. You can call the tourist info center at 082 – 248088 for more info.
From journal Kuching, Malaysia: Paradise Found