Josh's Story - The Orphaned Baby Orangutan

Josh's Story - The Orphaned Baby Orangutan

Posted by Connor Whelan on 21st Aug 2015

This is Josh. There is no doubt that what you are looking at there is a very happy, healthy baby Orangutan. However, this hasn’t always been the case for poor Josh. He had an incredibly tough start to life, and the tide is only just beginning to turn for the adorable and innocent youngster. Here is Josh’s story.

Rather than growing up in the Bornean Rainforest, learning from his mother about how to gather food and climb trees, Josh faced a very different reality from a very young age. At the age of just four months, Josh was found at a local coal mining site, clinging on to the corpse of his recently deceased mother. It is thought that Josh’s mother was needlessly killed after she ventured onto the land of the coal mining company, and this meant that her fledgling child was left orphaned in a world which looks very large, overwhelming, and terrifying through small eyes.

Josh was saved from the predators that would no doubt have made very light work of the defenceless Orangutan by the owner of the coal mine. Unfortunately he was not immediately handed over to people who would care for him in the correct manor as he was briefly kept as a pet by the owner. Josh’s life took another awful twist when very quickly, the mine owner got bored of the needy three month old ape and abandoned him at a local picnic area. This once again left the future of the baby looking bleak, as with no form of protection from the outside world, he would not be expected to survive for long at all. After a couple of days of being fed unsuitable food by passers-by, one concerned member of the public made the decision to finally change Josh’s life for the better. They got in touch with the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOS) and as a result Josh was rescued from the picnic area.

After going through levels of suffering no animal should ever have to endure, let alone a four month old Orangutan, Josh’s life was finally beginning to look more positive. BOS took him to the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Conservation Center and Josh hasn’t looked back since. As soon as he arrived at the centre he was given a check-up and thankfully (perhaps miraculously,) the little fighter was given the all clear.

Josh is now living in the nursery at the centre with the other, slightly older, baby Orangutans but his tough start in life means that he more than holds his own. With his new found brothers and sister in close proximity, he will be learning how to climb trees, forage for food and how to best prepare himself for his eventual release back into the rainforest. Due to his outgoing and confident nature Josh has had no problems making friends and playing with the other Orangutans at the site, but he spends most of his days contently wandering through the undergrowth on his own, taking in the sights, sounds and smells of his new home.

Josh’s personality traits have made him a little star at the centre and although none of them would openly admit it for fear of offending the other resident Orangutans, he has become a favourite of most of the staff and volunteers. Whether it be his snoring during his night-time naps, his innate ability to climb trees but distinct lack of ability to work out how to get back down them yet, or the way he interacts with the world around him, everything Josh does further endears him to all at the centre.

Whilst it will still be a long time until Josh is fully capable of looking after himself in the wild, he has now been given the best possible chance to do so. Slowly but surely he is learning how to be an Orangutan with the help of all of the staff and volunteers at the centre, and once he has mastered how to make his way back down those pesky trees he will be well on his way! Keep an eye out for more updates about Josh in the future, or even go and help out at Samboja yourself, and hopefully everyone can soon enjoy the moment he is released from the rescue centre!


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Jacqueline Draycott commented 8 months ago
This story of Josh’s sad start in life is so touching. It’s a shame I’m not 50 years younger, or I would have jumped at the chance of becoming a volunteer. Hope you get a lot of good responses.

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