5 Orangutans Released Into The Wild In Borneo!

5 Orangutans Released Into The Wild In Borneo!

Posted by Connor Whelan on 16th Jun 2016

Last month on the 27th May, five Orangutans were released from the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Sanctuary back into their natural forest homes in Borneo.

Borneo Orangutan

It was an exciting time for all involved with the release, and after weeks of planning, it was finally decided that the 27th would be the day these Great Apes made their way back into the regions stunning rainforests.

The five orangutans, Raymond, Gadis, Angely, Hope, and Kenji were released into the East Kutai and Kutai Kertabegara regions of East Kalimantan, bringing the total number of orangutans rehabilitated and released by the BOS Foundation since 2012 to 45.

Samboja Lestari offers a safe haven for any orangutans which find themselves without a home, and once the apes arrive at the sanctuary every effort is put in by the staff and volunteers to ensure that they will be able to return to the rainforest after their rehabilitation is complete. These five orangutans had completed their rehabilitation, and this is why they were put forward for release.

Orangutan Release

The three males and two females which made up the group were transported overland on a 12 hour journey from the sanctuary to Muara Wahau, with the team stopping to check on the orangutans every two hours. From Muara Wahau it was another 5 hour drive to the edge of the Telen River in the Kehje Sewen Forest before loading the cages onto boats to complete the penultimate leg of the journey. The last leg of the trip included a short drive on the back of individual 4x4’s to the orangutans designated drop off points.

Orangutan release

Before the apes were released, a local group of Dayak Wehea traditional dancers performed a ritual called “Tel kiah tloh jiep seak lekok,” which roughly translates to “Welcoming ritual of safety and friendship with the Borneo Wehea universe” to ensure the orangutans safe release into the forests.

The dance ritual evidently worked as Nico Hermanu, the Staff Communication boss at the Foundation, said the five orangutans had adapted well to their new surroundings! He also stated that they would be monitored via transmitter chips to ensure their safety for the next two years.

The Post Release Monitoring team begun observing the orangutans immediately after their release, and they were delighted to report back that all five orangutans began foraging for food and building their nests by the fifth night!

Orangutan Release Team

Here at The Great Projects we would like to take this opportunity to thank the hard work and dedication of the staff and volunteers at the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Sanctuary over the past year, as due to the horrific forest fires in 2015, it was all hands on deck to get the sanctuary back up and running and to be able to give the orangutans a chance at a life in their natural environment. Around 150 hectares of forest were destroyed in the blaze last year, and if the team had not put in such an incredible amount of effort there may not have been a sanctuary at all.

We will be sure to keep you updated on the progress of these five amazing animals as and when we receive any information here, but for now we will leave you all with this happy news!


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