A New Home for the New Year: 26 Orangutans Relocated to Bangamat Island

A tremendous joy at the end of 2012! After the news of Astrid’s newborn baby (Astrid is a female orangutan released in Bukit Batikap Conservation Forest back in February), now Nyaru Menteng has successfully relocated 26 orangutans to a pre-release island.

Pre-Release Islands

Pre-release islands are halfway forests, where the ‘graduates’ of forest school go through the last phase of rehabilitation process. Just like a university, in these islands the orangutans will learn to live independently. They live as they would in a wild forest and no longer need to go back to their enclosures every night. The purpose is to train them how to live in a real forest, until they are ready to be released. There are four pre-release islands in Nyaru Menteng: Kaja, Bangamat, Hampapak, and Palas.

In these islands, they have to apply all of the survival skills they have learned in Forest School, such as finding their own food and building nests. At Forest School, they had five meals a day but in the islands, food supplements are given only twice a day. Their ability to successfully go through this last stage in a pre-release island will determine whether or not they are ready to be released in the wild.

26 Orangutans were Enrolled in University!

Since Nyaru Menteng has released 44 orangutans in 2012, Bangamat Island now has the long-awaited space for the next group of orangutans. Nyaru Menteng Team started this pre-release activity on Thursday (20/12), relocating 26 qualified orangutans from the rehabilitation center to Bangamat Island!

Vet Barlian prepares sedation doses

Sedating orangutans using blowpipes

On Thursday, 9 orangutans were successfully relocated. They were Tara, Ijum, Benjol, Ratu, Damar, Suta, Maha, Olbert, and Wisnu. They seemed quite happy with their new home. As soon as they arrived on the island, they didn’t waste any time to climb up the trees!

9 orangutans were successfully relocated to Bangamat on Dec 20

Meanwhile on Friday (21/12), Nyaru Menteng Team moved 10 orangutans to Bangamat Island. They were Nambima, Gina, Kevin, Jatihan, Ibut, Tamua, Sigi, Clauss, Mardianto, and Wombat. The last 7: Tweety, Zakia, Doren, Gultop, Martisen, Madsen, and Lomon, were relocated on Monday (24/12).

Vet Maryos prepares sedation on the second day

Before the relocation, Nyaru Menteng Medical Team sedated and checked the chips on each orangutans for identification. All the female orangutans also received birth control implant.

Vet Riani checks the chips and implants birth control

When they were all ready in their transport cages, a truck drove them to a small jetty by the Rungan River. From the jetty, they rode a kelotok (traditional Dayak wooden longboat) to Bangamat Island, one of several islands in the delta of Rungan River.

Loading transport cages onto the longboats

Arriving at the Island, our orangutans immediately explored their new home. Tamua and Mardianto swung in the trees excitedly. Some decided to return to the platform and just hung out, like Ijum who was sitting around on the platform waiting for Maha’s cage to be opened. While Clauss, once the door was opened, joined Jatihan who was already running deep into the forest.

Wombat, Sigi and Ibut were released in Bangamat Island

Nabima, Gina and Kevin hanging out on Platform 7

A New Home for Lomon and Friends

The activity repeated for the last 7 orangutans, relocated to Bangamat Island on Monday, 24/12. After sedation, chip control, and birth control implant for the females, Tweety, Zakia, Doren, Gultop, Martisen, Madsen, and Lomon were dispatched to Bangamat island.

The Medical Team get busy since early morning on Dec 24

Indra and Herman from Communications Division also get ready with their camera

Doren was the first to be released in the island. While Lomon, once the door was opened, said a quick hello to Doren and climbed up a tree right away. Lomon is one of the orangutans from Nyaru Menteng who now enjoys an independent life in the island, thanks to the amazing financial support from his adopters.

Doren enjoying the first moment of independence in Bangamat Island

Lomon casually greeted Doren, then climbed a tree

Everyone looked settled and very happy in their new home, except for Madsen who still seemed to be under the effect of sedation and decided to recover by sitting around near his transport cage for a while. The nosy Tweety, on the other hand, really enjoyed her time. After successfully teasing Gultop, Tweety then had a big meal on the platform. Feeling annoyed, Gultop went up a tree, staying away from Tweety. The fun life on the Island has just begun!

From top left (clockwise): Martisen, Gultop, Tweety and Madsen

The Nyaru Menteng Team has successfully relocated 26 orangutans to the pre-release island of Bangamat. At this end of the year, these 26 orangutans started their new island life, preparing for life in their real home in the forest. What a perfect new year gift and a great way to start the new year! Congratulations to our beloved orangutans who just started a new life in a new home!


  • Anton Nurcahyo – Nyaru Menteng Program Manager
  • Barlian Purnama Putra – Nyaru Menteng Vet
  • Monica Devi Krisnasari – BOSF Communications Assistant
  • Media Romadona – BOSF Communicaitons Officer


  • Anton Nurcahyo
  • Barlian Purnama Putra

14 Responses Add comment

    • Nina Ezra says:

      Wonderful news. a busy busy end to 2012. Wow. Sooooooooooo Happy for them, especially Lomon

    • bev says:

      how absolutely WONDERFUL, if more people donate then even more can be released, it costs an average of $9.000 to properly release one orangutan, please donate to BOSF or Orangutan Land Trust if you can.

      • Riane says:

        I adopt at least one orang every year, and I was curious to know is it an average of $9.00 to properly release one orang?

        • Hi Riane, it’s very hard to explain about costs without explaining the entire Reintroduction process. So please bare with us as this answer will be quite long :)

          Before release, each and every orangutan must go through 3 stages:
          1. QUARANTINE: The first phase of Reintroduction is quarantine. All newcomers must undergo intensive health checks and a standard quarantine period. Quarantine period to ensure the threat of disease transmission to our resident orangutan population is removed. Health check includes testing for diseases (eg. Hepatitis and TB), assessing overall health condition, weight and age. Photos for identification of the orangutans will also be taken and each individual given a unique identity chip. If the orangutans are declared healthy (both mentally and physically) they can continue to the next phase of Reintroduction, which will be adjusted to each individual needs.
          2. REHABILITATION: Rehabilitation is a very important phase of Reintroduction where orangutans learn necessary forest skills needed to survive after release. Baby orangutans under 3 years old will join the nursery after they pass quarantine and begin learning under guidance of babysitters. Older orangutans join different levels of Forest School where babysitters & their orangutan friends teach them forest skills. Orangutans learn to climb, move in the trees, forage for wild foods, build nests & other skills needed to live in the forest.
          3. PRE-RELEASE: The next step is pre-release for orangutans who have ‘graduated’ from Forest School and are being prepared for release. During the pre-release stage, orangutans are released into an area similar to their natural habitat. Pre-release area can either be on a natural pre-release island or in a half way forest (final level of forest school). During the pre-release, interactions w/ humans are minimized, but we still do observation and provide supplementary food. Prior to Release, each orangutan must pass a final period of quarantine to ensure no diseases are transferred to the wild.

          The first 3 stages (Quarantine, Rehab, and Pre-Release) usually take around 7 years on average. The cost of these 3 stages is around US$ 3500 per orangutan per year. When an orangutan is un-releaseable due to physical disability or other reasons, we must bear this cost for the rest of the orangutan’s life.

          After they successfully go through all of the above stages and are considered ready for release, THEN finally they enter the final stage: RELEASE. Release process alone takes a huge amount of detailed planning & logistics to ensure safety at each step along the process. Thus releasing orangutans is very costly. Releasing one orangutan may cost between US$ 5000 – US$ 10,000. This covers mostly transportation costs (helicopter, land transportation, river transportation, etc) but also covers final health checks and quarantine, implanting radio tracking device on each release candidate, sedation, equipment, accommodation and meals for the team, and so many more details to ensure a successful release. The more orangutans we can release at one go, the lower the costs, but the range is as mentioned above.

          Additionally, the entire Reintroduction process does not stop at the Release Stage. The POST RELEASE MONITORING Team must monitor each individual for at least 1 year to ensure their reintroduction is successful. So there is also cost of monitoring, which is around US$ 5000 per month.

          So you see the complexity of the #Reintroduction process and how long it takes From quarantine to post-release monitoring, it takes a long time and is very costly. Every little bit helps, though. So don’t be discouraged! And we are extremely grateful for your contribution through adoption program!

          BOSF Communication Team

    • Denise Epke says:

      I learned about the Orangutans by watching “Orangutan Island” on Animal Planet. I loved the show so much. The narrator who ever He was gave them all so much more personality! He was brilliant with it. I would love to updated on the original crew like Cha Cha, Saturnus ,Togar ,Daisy,Chen Chen,Hamlet, Kiki and Jordan.
      I feel like I know them all!
      Blessings to you all!
      Regards, Denise Epke
      Birch Run, Michigan USA

    • Kimburly Keefas says:

      I have been searching the internet for over an hour and cannot find one answer to my question of what happened to Animal Planet’s Orangutan Island. Why was it cancelled, and what happened to Cha Cha and all the rest of the orangutans? Thank you.

    • Carol Keith says:

      I also watch “Orangutan Island” and wondered what happened to the graduates and why was the show cancelled.Also what became of Lona?

      • Hi Carol,

        As far as we know the Orangutan Islands was only commissioned for that series however, we are always looking for new opportunities to highlight our work and hope for more programs in the future. Lone is now based in the UK and remains an Advisor and ardent supporter of the BOS Foundation and periodically returns to support our work.:)

    • Lynn says:

      I have my tv set so that it automatically changes to Orangutan IslandLn followed by Escape to Chimp Eden every morning, in my time zone 5:00 am. Not normally a morning person I faithfully watch the shows and will as long as they are on. I sincerely regret that they are no longer filming new episodes because shows like these entertain but more importantly educate. Who needs to be contacted to try to get them and more shows like them on. To me Animal Planet should be running more shows like this than ones showing how the wealthy spend their money building tree houses, pools or things out of redwood that most of us, while entertaining, couldn’t or wouldn’t spend our hard earned money on. I believe we need to teach our children that they are responsible for the health and safety of our world and all creatures in it. I can’t remember who said it but the gist was that the loss of one species affects the whole planet. I truly believe this and thank you for your work.

      • Hi Lynn. Yes, we need to continue to educate others and children that we all have to take parts in creating a safer world for every living creatures. Thank you very much for your continuous support and your own effort to make this world a better place for all of us.


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