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Orang Utan Island

The Orang Utan Island in Bukit Merah is a world-renowned centre dedicated to the care of Malaysia’s orangutan. It is also a global eco-tourism destination. The Orang Utan Island is about 35 acres and is in Semanggol, Perak. The founder of this foundation is YBhg. Tan Sri Datuk (Dr.) Haji Mustapha Kamal bin Haji Abu Bakar.

Its inception was in the year 2000 and it started off as a sanctuary that provided visitors with first hand awareness and education on the orangutans. Presently, it has transformed into an ex-situ conservation facility and referral centre for endangered Borneo orangutans.

The Orang Utan Island’s main role is to increase awareness of the public by exposing them to many aspects of primatology such as primate behavior and ecology, veterinary medicine, captive care and conservation biology. It is also a temporary holding facility for rescued orangutans. For orangutans that are unfit to be returned to the wild, treatment, care and rehabilitation services are provided until they are fit to be returned to their natural habitat.

The Rehabilitation Program


There are seven stages in the rehabilitation program that the orangutans undergo before being released into the wild:

Infant Care Unit (ICU)

This stage provides veterinary care and husbandry for the infant orang utans. They are monitored 24 hours daily and are provided with carefully formulated nutritional diet plan.

Enrichment Development Unit

Infant orang utans are placed in a suitable space where they are exposed to natural surroundings and taught basic skills like nest building, water sourcing, swinging and climbing.

The Introductory Controlled Release Unit

Orang utans get visual contact with environment and other orang utans, however human contact remains limited.

Exhibit Controlled Release

Juvenile orangutans receive zero contact with humans and placed in large are for enrichment. Here, they show development and start to develop wild behaviors.

Exhibit Release

Juvenile orang utans are released into the main exhibit where they share space with other social groups.

Training Wild Release (BJ Island)

Orang utans are released on an island that is approximately 14 acres that’s within Bukit Merah Laketown Resort. Here, they have minimum contact with humans and studies will be conducted on the ecological and sociological behavior in the wild.

Wild release (Place of Origin)

After consulting the government and other related organizations, orangutans are released into their place of birth or other suitable areas.

Tours on the Island


Your journey to the island will start off when you get on the lake cruiser that will take you to the island. This short ride is very calming and peaceful as the cool breeze blows through your hair and you get a beautiful view of the lake. Upon arrival at the jetty, you might want to look up at the towering trees as you might get a glimpse of the orangutans taking naps or swinging from tree to tree.

The adventure on the island will begin with some education on the orangutans. You will be taken into a theatre where you are enlightened on the life of orangutans and you will learn a few interesting facts about them. Next, you will be led to a 100 metre, semi-circle steel fence tunnel where you, seemingly in a cage, can look out and be mesmerized by the orangutans just roaming free in the wild, playing with each other, eating fruits, napping or looking back at you. It is truly an extraordinary experience to watch these creatures wander freely on the grass, in the trees, by the lake and just about anywhere.

There are many other things to do on the island that are mainly educational. There is a herbal garden where you receive education on herbal plants in Malaysia like its Malay name, scientific name, plant family and health remedies. There are about 28 plants including the ati-ati, limau purut, misai kucing and many more. Education Zones are also placed on the island where expert briefing on the orangutans are given and you can watch and study the behavior of the orangutans. There are Researcher’s Corners which are large wood round tables and long benches arranged in a circle which are useful for individuals or groups that are doing research on the orangutans.

No words can truly describe the adventure and experience gained on this island. Only when you take a trip to the island will you truly understand the experience.

Nature & Wildlife Highlights

Deerland Park FRIM Rainforest Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary Kuala Selangor Fireflies Malaysian Rainforests Orang Utan Island The Rafflesia Flower Silver Leaf Monkeys