We live in a world where animals are under assault. This is especially true in Malaysia where orangutans are losing vast tracts of rain-forest to make way for palm oil plantations. This loss of habitat is causing huge pressure on the existing orangutan population which has been steadily decreasing year after year.
To make matters worse, these solitary creatures are considered cute to have as pets due to their docile nature. This is causing many of the young ones to be taken from the wild and sold to the illegal pet trade.
Fortunately, there are still organizations that are attempting to reverse the tide and the Bukit Meran Orangutan Island is one of them. They specialize in rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing these majestic creatures.
This sanctuary is located approximately a one hour drive from Penang. Afterwards you can take a short ferry to arrive at the island. This is the best way to see orangutans without having to visit Borneo.
Once on Bukit Meran Orangutan Island you are transported to a magical world where care takers are passionate about the animals under their care.
The staff answered all of our questions and the passion that they felt was contagious. We watched and studied the behavior of the adults and then we moved on to watching the babies.
When you view the babies your heart melts. Watching baby orangutans is quite possibly the most precious thing that I have ever seen. They crawl all over each other and wrestle playfully. I would compare it to watching puppies play with the exception that they are so humanlike with their perfectly formed dexterous fingers.
Visiting this sanctuary was by far my favorite and most memorable activity in Penang. It has certainly certified my resolve to visit Borneo one day. It also gives me some confidence in the human spirit that there are such selfless people as these passionate caretakers and volunteers who make this sanctuary a reality.
I highly recommend that if you enjoy seeing wildlife that you visit Bukit Meran Orangutan Island.