The world’s only known albino orangutan, Alba, is destined for the forest and will start her new life on a 10-hectare forest-island home by the end of June.
Like humans, all orangutans are unique individuals. There is one orangutan, however, that completely stands out from the crowd. Alba is the only world’s known albino orangutan. She was aptly named after the Latin word for “white,” in a naming competition run by BOS Foundation in May 2017. Soon, Alba will be moved to a special man-made island that encompasses 10 hectares of natural habitat, so she can live a life of freedom, while remaining protected from human threats.
Alba was rescued in a joint effort by the BOS Foundation and the Central Kalimantan Natural Resource Conservation Agency (BKSDA) on 29 April 2017, in Kapuas Regency, Central Kalimantan. The news of her discovery attracted international attention. Her plight deeply touched the hearts and minds of people from across the world, and left many more wondering how her story will progress.
Even though Alba has good experience living in the wild – a trait that would usually mean she could be translocated quickly without a lengthy rehabilitation process – her albinism makes her a very special case, requiring a bespoke rehabilitation strategy. The symptoms of albinism – namely the lack of the pigment, melanin, in her hair and skin – can lead to health complications, such as, poor eyesight, poor hearing, and skin cancer, and make her more vulnerable to hunting or predation.
Alba will be accompanied on her new forest-island home by three other orangutans – Radmala (female, aged 4), Kika (female, aged 6), and Unyu (male, aged 4) – all of whom have been introduced to Alba and they have bonded well together. All show a certain level of wild behavior and can be categorized as semi-wild.
Once on the island, Alba and the others will have full-time monitoring and security provided by staff who will conduct patrols and collect data on their behaviour and health. Additionally, our staff will record which orangutans are seen at the feeding platform, where supplementary foods are provided twice a day.
Construction works on the island is mostly completed and running at full speed. The canal that serves as a natural border was completed near the end of 2017 (see above). Construction of security and monitoring infrastructure is also underway; we hope to complete this by the end of February. However, there is still time to donate to Alba’s new home. The collected funds will be used to build feeding platforms and security posts on the island, and help us to provide her with their daily needs. With your support, Alba and her friends can get to know their wild side on the island. Simply click to donate now .
We expect to conduct Alba’s relocation on June 2018 by the latest.
Text by: BOS Foundation Communication Team