Just 15 minutes by boat from Bukit Merah Laketown Resort (main jetty) is Orang Utan Island (OUI), where the Bukit Merah Orang Utan Island Foundation runs Orang Utan conservation, infant care, education and research programmes. In my opinion, this is a compulsory stop for anyone who swings by this side of Perak.
The Orang Utan, which literally means “Man of the Forest” in the Malay language, is a primate closest to the human, in terms of DNA. Those who work closely with the animal think that they are so alike humans, that the only difference is that they cannot talk.
Orang Utan Island plays an important role as the only ex-situ orang utan conservatory in the country of this kind. The primates are conserved, cared for and rehabilitated, and in due course, released to their natural habitat. There are only two species of orang utans in the world; Pongo pygmaeus and Pongo abelii. Those on OUI are of the Pongo pygmaeus (Borneo) species.
The orang utan, found only in Malaysia and Indonesia, is a totally protected animal under the laws of Malaysia. It is an endangered animal because of forest destruction, and many other causes.
Although visitors to Orang Utan Island, which opened to the public in early February 2000, is only allowed visual contact with the animals, it is still an exceptionally educational visit, especially for animal lovers. Facilities on OUI include an infant care unit for disease diagnosis, treatment and nursing care of infant orang utans, resource centre for students and researchers, theater room for video presentation and seminar, and Herbal Garden, just to name a few.
The Bukit Merah Orang Utan Island Foundation serves as a comprehensive, national resource centre for information on orang utans, orang utan research and is a link to collaborations with other related information centres worldwide.
The foundation runs on donations to continue with its efforts in the areas of research, education, development, conservation, breeding and rehabilitation of the primate.
Schedule of boat trips from the main jetty to Orang Utan Island:
Weekday (Monday – Thursday) – from 9am – 5pm (45-minute interval per trip):
Weekend (Friday – Sunday) / Public / School Holiday – from 9am – 5pm (30-minute interval per trip):
Daily boat trip from Orang Utan Island to main jetty:
The boat departs every 30 minutes on weekends, public and school holidays.
Fare: for MyKad holders – RM30 (adult) & RM18 (child)
The Orang Utan Island may be closed to visitors at certain periods of the year. This closure is due to the low water level in the lake caused by the release of the water for irrigation to the nearby paddy fields.
Bukit Merah Orang Utan Island Foundation (Yayasan Pulau Orang Utan Bukit Merah)
Add: Jalan Bukit Merah, Semanggol, 34400 Perak Darul Ridzuan, Malaysia.
Tel: +605-890 8888
Fax: +605-890 8000
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