An Update On Samboja's Latest Orangutan Release

An Update On Samboja's Latest Orangutan Release

Posted by Leanne Sturrock on 7th Mar 2017

As reported last week, seven orangutans from the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Sanctuary were to be released back into the wild. We are thrilled to inform you all that the release was a success, and that the apes are now able to begin a new life in the Kehje Sewen Forest. Check out some images taken from the release, just below.

The beginning of the month marked the 11th orangutan release at Samboja Lestari, and for some of the orangutans, freedom has been a long time coming. A tragic past of pet trade, circus performances or poaching has marred the lives of some of the candidates, which in turn meant that rehabilitation was slow. However, thanks to the hard work and compassion given by the staff at Samboja, the dream of freedom could finally become a reality.

Orangutan release

To ensure the safe transition from the sanctuary to the forest, staff at the project must semi-sedate the orangutan. This is the safest option for both human and animal, and is necessary for their safe transport to their new location.

Orangutan Release

The cages are packed with leaves, which keep the orangutans comfortable through their journey to the forest (and to give the effect of nesting.)

Orangutan Release

The orangutans are then driven to a safe, open location; here, the team ensure that they are ready for their journey. A recent method of transporting the orangutans is by airlifting them, as a journey by flight is much shorter than a drive (and therefore less stressful for the animal, due to there being less time spent in a cage.)

Orangutan Release

The orangutans are then airlifted to their new home; in this instance, the Kehje Sewen Forest. Finding a suitable location for these orangutans is no easy task, and the team had to secure a location under some specific criteria: suitable altitude, food availability, secured from plans of exploration and exploitation, and with a minimum or zero population of wild orangutans (as well as being a safe distance from human populations.) Kehje Sewen Forest ticked each of these boxes, allowing the released orangutans to experience life in the wild.

Thanks to the team at Samboja, these seven orangutans can now look forward to a life of freedom, having been rehabilitated and well-equipped for this major change in their lives. The project's post-release team will be keeping an eye on the orangutans to see how they adjust to their new lives in the forest, but until then we hope that their transition from the sanctuary to the wild remains to be successful!

If you would like to take part on the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Volunteer Project, head to our project page now. You could find yourself taking part in vital enrichment activities for these fascinating apes, as well as aiding necessary conservation efforts for endangered animals.


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