Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation

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BOS Foundation Incorporate Enrichments in Rehabilitation Process


For the first seven years of life, orangutan babies depend on their mothers to teach them all the vital skills they will need to survive independently in the wild. When orphaned at a young age, orangutan babies are denied the right and experience of growing and learning under the nurturing guidance of their loving mothers.

Baby orangutans that come into the BOS Foundation’s care depend on our team of devoted babysitters to help build their confidence and guide them as they acquire their survival skills duringthe developing years. Enrichment tools are introduced throughout the rehabilitation process to support the development of basic skills necessary for life intheforest.

Orangutans are the largest arboreal animal in the world, spending the majority of their lives actively foraging and moving through the forest canopy. At the BOS Foundation’s two rehabilitation centres, enrichment tools are used to help stimulate and teach orangutans to forage for natural foods found high up in the trees. One such enrichment is a fruit-filled metal basket, hung up high on wooden poles.

Another enrichment offered during the rehabilitation process is fruit that has been frozen in large ice blocks. The idea of this enrichment is to give orangutans a chance to discover methods of breaking inside the ice block to get to the fruit, which replicates the ways in which they wouldsmash weathered wood and extract protein-rich termites in the wild.

Wilmar in Samboja Lestari try to breaking the ice block

Fruit Balls is another enrichment that helps stimulate foraging; 2-cm diameter holes are drilled into large plastic balls and then filled with slices of fruits, which orangutans search for and extract with their fingers.

In much the same way, PVC pipes are alsoused as enrichments; perforated lengths of pipe make good hidey holes for fruits and vegetables, which orangutans have to poke out to eat.

These enrichments,and many others like them, are used at both Nyaru Menteng and Samboja Lestari rehabilitation centres. Theenrichments assist in the rehabilitation process and give orangutans the chance tohone their natural foraging behaviours, to give them the best chance possible once they are released back to the wild.  

Text by: Hermansyah, Communications and Education Staff, BOSF Nyaru Menteng

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