Orang-utans – tail-less, red-haired apes (their name means “man of the forest” in Malay) – can reach a height of around 1.65m, and can live to over thirty years old. Solitary but not aggressively territorial, these primates live a largely arboreal existence, eating fruit, leaves, bark and the occasional insect.

Most of the orang-utans at the Sepilok centre are victims of forest clearance; many have been orphaned, injured and traumatized in the process. Some have also been kept as pets, something now prohibited by law, which means that their survival instincts remain undeveloped. Orang-utans are trained at Sepilok to fend for themselves in the wild. Although not always successful, the training process has seen many animals reintroduced to their natural habitat.

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