Releasing orangutans to their natural habitat follows a very long and intense rehabilitation process. Rehabilitated orangutans must have mastered many different wild skills before they can be considered for release. They must be in good health, be of suitable age, and exhibit appropriate natural behaviours. The entire BOS Foundation team is involved in the lead-up to a release – team members at the release-site camp, staff at the rehabilitation centers, and those manning the Bogor headquarters are all kept busy carefully planning and preparing the event to ensure it will run safely and smoothly.
Eagerly Awaiting Every Orangutan Release!
At the end of November, rain fell daily on the Kehje Sewen Forest. Plant-life thrived and sprouted to form overhanging bushes along the transect trails. The rivers rose and the air felt cool and damp after every downpour. The wet conditions failed to dishearten our PRM team, and the crew from the Nles Mamse Camp welcomed a damp December with its promise of another orangutan release. This latest release, the 14th conducted in the Kehje Sewen Forest, following the release on July 12 (read the story here). This time, we eagerly looked forward to seeing five orangutans, each having completed a long rehabilitation process at Samboja Lestari, finally gain their freedom.The PRM team worked hard with preparations, starting with a field survey to determine the exact release points. Where and how we release orangutans depends on different factors including the individual characters, who they are used to socialising with, and the availability of natural food sources. Mother-offspring pair Ingrid and Ivan, were of course released together, since 4-year old Ivan is still heavily dependent on his mother. But for the three other orangutans, these were released at different points.The team also checked Mugi’s dock from time to time, to monitor the boat construction work being undertaken. When finished the boat will be used to carry orangutan transport cages and release team members across the Telen River.
Boat construction by local builder. The finished boat will move cages and release team members across the river
The PRM team also worked hard at cleaning the dock, installing some new railings, and fixing steps for added safety.
PRM team works together to clean the dock
PRM team fixes the steps
Railings installed by our PRM team
Prior to D-Day
As the release day approached, PRM team members at Nles Mamse Camp, were kept busy cleaning the camp and surrounding yard, and preparing logistics to welcome the orangutans and the incoming release team.
PRM team clean the camp
Building new camp beds for release team
Our team kicked into high gear to prepare for the release and their hard work and dedication paid off. The release went smoothly, and the five orangutans are now living free in the Kehje Sewen Forest. What an awesome outcome for another terrific team effort!
We will continue to monitor and observe these five for the coming months, as they experience life in the wild for the first time. Stay tuned, and look out for our stories and updates on their adaptation, coming soon!
Text by: PRM Team in Kehje Sewen Forest