Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary is located within an oil palm estate about 38 kilometres from Sandakan. In the mid-1990s this 400 acre site was going to be cleared for the development of oil palm when the owner discovered that proboscis monkeys were living in the mangroves. He decided to retain this relatively small pocket of forest as a sanctuary for the monkeys. Today Labuk Bay is home to around 150 free ranging proboscis monkeys.
The habitat at Labuk Bay is fragmented with relatively small patches of mangrove forest surrounded by plantation land. As there is insufficient food the monkeys receive a supplementary diet. This privately run sanctuary has two observation platforms and feeding takes place at 9.30 am 10.15 am, 11.30 am, 2.30 pm, 3.15 pm and 4.30 pm. At most feeding times groups of proboscis monkeys descend from the nearby forest and mangroves and head to the wooden platform for a free meal. They are feed cucumbers and pancakes!
These monkeys are wild but highly habituated and often get very close to visitors. The behaviour (and diet) of these proboscis monkeys is very different from the wild monkeys that live on the Kinabatangan River and other areas of Sabah and Sarawak. Labuk Bay offers a chance to get very close to proboscis monkeys. The sanctuary also offers excellent photo opportunities.
Other animals often seen near the feeding platforms include silver-leaf monkeys and hornbills.