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Project information

Orangutan Nursery Carers

Orphaned orangutans often have so little time to learn from their mothers before they are separated by hunting or habitat destruction. The nursery carers at Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre are vital in giving these babies the best possible start at a second chance in the wild.


Charity information: Orangutan Appeal UK

Orangutan Appeal UK logo
  • Need


    Over the last several decades the global population of orangutans has declined to such an extent that Bornean orangutans are listed by the IUCN as critically endangered. Major threats to the orangutan population include habitat loss caused by illegal logging, fires and agriculture, hunting and the pet trade. These threats have led to babies being displaced, injured or orphaned when in the wild they should spend up to 8 years learning with their mother.


    The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in northern Borneo is vital to ensuring baby orangutans have a second chance at life. OAUK's orangutans carers are responsible for the success of the rehabilitation process; from the earliest stages where through-the-night care is often required, to their first steps on the ropes, to eventual release back into protected reserves. Each baby can take around 8 years to rehabilitate so having dedicated 'surrogate parents' helping them along is crucial.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To improve the health, welfare and survival of orangutans on the rehabilitation scheme at Sepilok


    » To ensure the highest level of cleanliness and efficiency is maintained in the quarantine unit for new arrivals to the centre - managed by Pamik
    » To provide constant care and attention to the youngest babies who need the most help to find their feet and to start learning - managed by Bonny
    » To provide a successful training programme to teach the orangutans the varied skills they need to succeed in the wild - managed by Victor

    What success will look like

    Success will be release of rehabilitated orangutans into protected reserves where they can live independently

    Aim 2

    To increase respect for wildlife and careers in conservation in the local area


    » To provide stable & reliable employment for local people to positively show working with wildlife and to engender further interest in the environment

    What success will look like

    Success will be an increased awareness towards wildlife and positive attitudes towards wildlife careers

  • Impact


    As an ongoing project, this is crucial to providing continued care for orangutans in need of rescue and rehabilitation. As a critically endangered species, this will be a required project for the forseeable future. The success of this project will be demonstrated by the number of successful releases of rehabilitated orangutans, defined by those who are able to live independently in the forest.


    As the rehabilitation centre is owned by the Sabah Wildlife Department, there is a risk of political instability affecting OAUK's position at the centre. However, OAUK have a long-standing MOU with the SWD and are the longest approved UK NGO to work with the Malaysian government. OAUK's work over the last 20 years at Sepilok, including the inception of the rehabilitation process, adoption scheme and the employment of staff, retains the need for OAUK's work and input at the centre.


    Reports to donors will be in the form of updates from the nursery carers themselves which will be published in our biannual newsletter, on our website or on our social media pages.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £19,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £19,000 Salaries Salary cost for 4 staff for 1 year

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Grants £13,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre is in the Sabah District of northern Borneo, Malaysia and was founded in 1964 to rehabilitate orphaned orangutans. It is Sabah’s first and only orangutan rehabilitation centre and is an essential resource for conserving the species. The site covers 43sq km of protected land at the edge of the Kabili Sepilok Forest Reserve and holds approximately 80 orangutans that roam freely in the area and around 25 young orphaned orangutan undergoing rehabilitation.


    In the wild baby orangutans and their mothers' have one of the strongest bonds in the animal kingdom, remaining together for up to 8 years. Deforestation, agriculture, hunting and the pet trade have led to these babies becoming orphaned or displaced with no skills to survive. Being entirely reliant on their mother for several years, without the help of centres like Sepilok and the extensive care and training, these babies would die in the wild.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Orangutan Appeal UK has been dedicated to identifying areas of need at Sepilok rehabilitation centre and adopting them as projects with the ultimate goal to save the orangutan from extinction. OAUK Chairperson and founder Susan Sheward was one of the first ever volunteers at Sepilok and has spent many years developing a trusting relationship. OAUK has an MOU with Sepilok and is the longest approved charity to work with the Malaysian government so is in a prime position to carry out the project

    Read more about the Charity running this project.



    Victor is responsible for delivering the training programme for all of the juvenile orphans at the outdoor nursery


    Lineker works with Victor to closely monitor the babies for any weaknesses or health issues and assesses whether they are ready for graduation


    Boney specialises in caring for the younger orangutans at the clinic and indoor nursery who require constant care and attention


    Pamik works in the quarantine area at the centre, where orangutans are held if sick or recovering from treatment, as well as with released orangutans


can provide a training session to teach a baby orangutan how to climb