Was an orangutan needlessly euthanised at Sepilok?

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Friends of the Orangutans have been informed of an alleged case of euthanasia of an orangutan at the popular Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre (SORC), in the East Malaysian state of Sabah. The centre is owned by the Sabah state government and managed by the state government’s wildlife agency, Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD).

Based on details made available to us, an orangutan suffered electrocution at the SORC and, as a result, suffered severe injuries. The orangutan was placed in a cage at the centre and was apparently able to survive, but was later euthanised. Consequently, it appears that the euthanasia was not necessary. 

On 14 October 2020, through an email, we invited the SWD to comment on and verify these allegations but did not receive a response. 

We had also asked the department these details:

  • Full-bodied, post-electrocution photographs of the ape while she was alive, including when she was in a cage
  • The post-mortem report
  • Date and time of the electrocution incident

Evidently, these three requests were made based on the premise that the euthanasia did occur – Friends of the Orangutans invites the SWD to respond to this report to clarify allegations if an apparent, unnecessary euthanasia did take place at the SORC.

We have previously revealed numerous concerns about the SORC. See our reports below for details.


When profits rule – Sepilok orangutan release disaster

Sepilok orangutan tourism – here’s what’s wrong

General public finally barred from involvement with orangutan rehab at Sepilok

No transparency from Sabah wildlife authorities on welfare concerns of 6 Sepilok orangutans

Perilous orangutan tourism resumes at Sepilok amid COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19: Time for change at Sepilok Orangutan Rehab Centre

SWD’s dubious plan to release two orphaned Sepilok orangutans