25 Orangutans Released Back Into The Wild!

25 Orangutans Released Back Into The Wild!

Posted by Georgia Wilson on 8th Sep 2015

In celebration of International Orangutan Day on the 19th August, the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) released 25 Orangutans back into the wild of Borneo. Continuing their success of previously releasing 136 Orangutans into central Kalimantan over the past three years, BOSF were delighted to be able to celebrate 2015’s International Orangutan Day by releasing another 20 Orangutans from the Nyaru Menteng Rescue Centre.

Alongside the 20 Orangutans released from Nyaru Menteng, there were also five Orangutans released from the Samboja Lestari Rescue Centre! Ajeng, Long, Arief, Erica and Leoni were all released into the Kehje Sewen Forest in East Kalimantan on the 4th of September.

We were lucky enough to have our very own Kate, the Volunteer Coordinator, out at the centre when the release took place and she was very excited to have the chance to see the Orangutans head into the wild!

Each of the five Orangutans who were released have a fascinating story and it’s just too much to discuss now, so their stories can be found here! Without the dedicated help and support provided by the rescue centre, it is an unfortunate truth that these Orangutans may not have survived out in the wild. Fortunately, at the centre, there are methods and techniques in place to help the Orangutans with their eventual rehabilitation into the wild. A three-tiered Forest School and nursery are in place at Samboja Lestari to provide the rescued Orangutans with the best possible chance to be rehabilitated back into the forest. Detailed below is what happens at the nursery & school:

Nursery: At nursery the young Orangutans are joined by their female only babysitters (they are still scared of men at this age!) To stimulate the Orangutans at nursery there are jungle gyms for them to climb and discover, but their babysitters are never too far away so that the babies always feel safe! The youngsters are surrounded by trees during their time at the nursery, and by the end of their stay their natural instincts have normally led to them exploring these rather than the jungle gyms. We’ve all heard about Josh, the orphaned baby , and this is where he currently resides, learning all the skills he needs to one day be released himself!

Stage 1: For the first stage of forest school when the Orangutans are very young, they are let out to explore the forest in the daytime, learning how to climb and re-learn the natural behaviours they may have missed out on earlier in life. As they are still young, their human babysitters accompany them through this, but they take a hands-off approach unless the Orangutans wander too far! When night rolls around and it’s time for bed, the Orangutans return to their cages for the night to protect them from the outside world which they are currently unaccustomed to.

Stage 2: As the Orangutans grow and become more and more familiar with their natural surroundings, they are granted more freedom. They are given the chance to explore the forest as they wish during the day, and come night time their cages are left open. This means that if they want to return to them they can, but hopefully they are beginning to build nests by now so they can stay in them! Male carers are still around at all times during stage 2 because whilst the Orangutans still need to be looked after, they have normally stopped listening to the female carers by now!

Stage 3: Once the Orangutans reach stage 3 they are becoming more and more independent. They do not sleep in cages anymore and are completely free to roam the forest at their leisure. They are still tracked so that the staff at the centre can ensure they are safe and sound, but apart from this their rehabilitation is almost complete!

Forest School has proven to be a very effective way of helping the rehabilitation process of the Orangutans. It gives them the best possible chance to learn and reinforce the natural behaviours they would have picked up if they were living in the wild. There are a number of baby Orangutans ready to graduate from nursery and go into forest school for the first time, so make sure you keep an eye out for that update!

The day of the release itself proved to be challenging as the release site is in a remote location, unreachable by car or truck. This meant that after four hours of driving, the dedicated staff from BOSF had to carry the Oranugtans the remaining distance in cages created for this purpose. Fortunately, after some tough trekking through the jungle the Orangutans reached their release site and could begin their new lives, living as nature intended! Pictures say a thousand words so I'll let them do the talking!

The release team from BOSF

Long and Arief getting ready for their journey

The staff helping to carry one of the Orangutans to the release site

Someone looks very happy to be released back into the forest

It didn't take Erica long to head straight up a tree

The aim of the Samboja Lestari Rescue Centre is not only to save Orangutans from the hardships many of them face early in their lives, but to then rehabilitate them so they are strong enough to be released back into the wild. When this opportunity comes around it is a momentous day for not only the staff at the centre, but the world of animal conservation as a whole. Releasing five Orangutans back into the wild means that we are one step closer to helping these magnificent Great Apes regain the foothold they once had in the wild.

If you would like the chance to aide in the rehabilitation of the Orangutans and play a part in the eventual release of hopefully many more, then why not pay a visit to Samboja Lestari and create a lasting legacy for the Great Apes. All the details can be found here.

Share this Article...

Share this article with your friends and followers by using the social media buttons below.

Leave a Comment...

Wanting to add something to this story or just let us know your thoughts? Just leave your comments below. Please be aware that all comments will be moderated: abusive behaviour or self-promotion will not be allowed.

500 characters remaining

Has this blog inspired you to volunteer? If so, why not enquire today? Simply fill out an enquiry form, and allow a member of our travel team to assist with your query! Please note that blog comments are not monitored by the travel team, so any questions related to bookings may be missed.

Featured Blog Arcticles

Featured Videos

Experience The Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary

See what you could get up to as a volunteer at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary! This volunteer project offers you the chance to get up close and personal with some of the country's most iconic species.

Discover The Great White Shark Project

Come face to face with one of the world’s most misunderstood predators whilst aiding great white shark conservation. As a volunteer, not only will you get the incredible opportunity to dive with sharks, but you will also assist the team in raising awareness of the great white as you work alongside tourists and local school children to provide them with knowledge of the local environment and the importance of living in harmony with South Africa’s marine life.

Volunteers Review Their Experience at the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary

Volunteers talk about their recent experience at the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary in Borneo.

Latest Blog Arcticles

The Team Returns - James & Lauren's South Africa Experience

The Team Returns - James & Lauren's South Africa Experience

Lauren and James have returned and are ready to relay tales...

The Great Projects On Tour: Upcoming Staff Trips

The Great Projects On Tour: Upcoming Staff Trips

Team members Lauren and James, joined colleague Georgia to...

Lynne's Top Tips For Volunteering at the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary

Lynne's Top Tips For Volunteering at the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary

Volunteer Lynne Coe shares her valuable tips on what to...

10 More Orangutans Released Back Into The Wild From Nyaru Menteng!

10 More Orangutans Released Back Into The Wild From Nyaru Menteng!

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the Borneo...

Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary May Update

Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary May Update

The Great Projects volunteer coordinators, Matt and Niamh,...

Latest At The Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary

Latest At The Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary

The Great Projects' volunteer coordinators Matt and Niamh...

Volunteer Update From Samboja In April 2023

Volunteer Update From Samboja In April 2023

As the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Project begins once again...

Inge’s Experience at the Harnas Wildlife Sanctuary

Inge’s Experience at the Harnas Wildlife Sanctuary

Inge volunteered at the Harnas Wildlife Sanctuary in...

Where you can go
Contact Info
UK Office
The Great Traveller Ltd,
3 Dairy Yard
Star Street
Ware, Hertfordshire
SG12 7DX
United Kingdom

Opening hours:
   Mon-Fri 8:30am–5:30pm
   Sat 10am-4pm

T: +44(0) 208 885 4987