Jelapat, the Fifth Baby Orangutan to Arrive at Nyaru Menteng this Month

Like a never-ending story, our rescue team from Nyaru Menteng have again rescued another baby orangutan that was being kept as a pet illegally by a local villager, this time in South Barito, Central Kalimantan.

Jelapat, a baby male our team rescued, was being held captive in a small 50×50 cm cage

We initially received information about this male infant through a member from our communications team, who had seen a Facebook account sharing a photo of a captive orangutan. We reported this finding to the Central Kalimantan BKSDA the following day (June 21) and immediately deployed a joint rescue team that headed to the reported location.

The baby male was dressed up like a human, in children’s clothing

A local resident named Sukri, who had possession of the orangutan and had named him Jelapat, said he was found in mid-December last year in a gold mining area of Timpah village, Kapuas Regency, Central Kalimantan. Forest fires had devastated the area around that time, destroying all the trees and blanketing the region in a thick haze. Jelapat was found along the banks of the Barito River, alone and weak. Sadly, his mother undoubtedly perished in the fires or was killed intentionally, for no orangutan mother would just leave their infant alone like that.

Sukri took Jelapat home to care for and keep as a pet, and placed him in a small cage on the roadside of his densely populated village. This must have been a terrifying experience for the young male. He was given leftover rice and side dishes to eat.

After a brief explanation of disease transmission between humans and wild animals, and Indonesian law regarding protected species, Sukri willingly handed over Jelapat to our team. Report documents were completed by the Central Kalimantan BKSDA, after which Jelapat was taken to the Nyaru Menteng rehabilitation centre.

drh. Agus Fahroni performing an initial examination on Jelapat

During the rescue, our team found Jelapat to be friendly and had no fear of humans; this indicates he had been held captive for quite some time. An initial examination determined his age at about 1.5 years. Upon arrival at Nyaru Menteng, Jelapat was placed in quarantine – together with Mema and Bumi, who also recently came to the Nyaru Menteng rehabilitation centre – to undergo a thorough medical examination.

Jelapat is the fifth baby orangutan rescued by our team this month: It is very sad to see motherless babies still coming to our centres. Jelapat, like the other infants in our care, will have to undergo a lengthy rehabilitation process at Nyaru Menteng to learn the survival skills he would have gained naturally from his mother in the wild.

Our Baby House is now running over capacity and we desperately need help from around the globe to build a new structure so our baby orangutans can play and learn together.

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