Yesterday saw the launch of our brand-new orangutan project, located at the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary in Central Kalimantan. In the midst of all the excitement (including the broadcast of Channel 4’s ‘Orangutan Jungle School’, which focuses on the centre), you might be excused for missing out on another huge announcement: the centre has just released 10 of its orangutans!
In addition to helping 10 more orangutans find freedom, the team at Nyaru Menteng have another reason to celebrate. The release, which took place on the 14th of August, also saw the 100th orangutan from the centre released into Taman Nasional Baka Bukit Raya (TNBBR for short). This monumental goal saw the team reach an impressive milestone, and this goal becomes all the more meaningful when you realise that both Indonesia’s Independence Day and International Orangutan Day fall either side of the release. What a wonderful coincidence!
We’re thrilled to have partnered with Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation for yet another volunteer programme (we also work with this amazing organisation on our Samboja Lestari Orangutan Project), and as we celebrate the launch of Nyaru Menteng’s first-ever volunteer project, it’s fantastic to be able to highlight the sanctuary’s successes thus far. Read on to ‘meet’ the 10 most recent candidates for release – we can’t wait to hear more about their venture into the great wild world!
Ping was rescued in Petuk Bukit Village, Central Kalimantan at the age of two years old. Weighing in at just 4.2 kilograms, Ping was in a poor state, having been fed only rice scraps and exhibiting a wound on her anus. She was brought to Nyaru Menteng on March 19th 2005 and immediately placed into quarantine to recover.
Over the course of several years, Ping worked hard to complete all levels of Forest School and was eventually moved to one of the islands on June 6th 2016. She was found to have a poorly-functioning, turned-in left eye, but she wouldn’t let this stop her – instead, she’d cover the eye to improve her vision overall and would continue exploring the island as she sharpened her foraging skills. Ping is a social orangutan, and lov3ed to spend time with others – particularly her best friend, Vina!
Now aged 15 years old and weighing a healthy 34 kilograms, Ping is ready to return to her true home in the forests of the national park. Good luck to you, Ping!
Semilar’s story began on April 6th 2005, when he was rescued alongside two other orangutans after two months of living in tragic conditions. This poor ape, aged just 2.5 years old, had been captured and kept as a pet by a palm-oil plantation worker in Semilar Village. During his captivity, Semilar would spend his days locked inside of a tiny wooden crate.
Despite his tragic beginnings, Semilar grew to be an avid explorer, but understandably had a firm aversion to human presence. After completing Forest School, he entered the pre-release stage on Bangamat Island on March 24th 2016, and would spend his days roaming the island with his best friend, Tom.
At the age of 16 years old, Semilar weighs 39.3 kilograms and is certainly ready to find freedom once more in the forests of TNBBR. So long, sweet Semilar!
At the age of 2 years old, Paku was rescued from a villager in Central Kalimantan and has resided at Nyaru Menteng since December 2nd 2004. Following a period of quarantine, Paku joined Forest School and worked his way through the ranks to complete all levels by 2015. On June 7th 2016, he was moved to Bangamat Island and became great friends with fellow orangutans Pangkuy and Bungsu!
An avid explorer, Paku is also something of a ladies’ man – he’s been observed mingling with the female orangutans on more than one occasion! At the age of 16 years old, it’s now time for Paku to put his skills learnt during rehabilitation into practice as he heads to TNBBR to live out his days. Good luck on the outside, Paku!
Otherwise known as Ping’s best friend, beautiful Vina came to Nyaru Menteng with a sad (albeit brief) past. She was only four months old by the time she arrived at the sanctuary, having spent two weeks in captivity at the hands of a local resident.
Vina has been with Nyaru Menteng since December 20th 2004, and has proven herself to be a bright and successful young orangutan. She excelled through Forest School and on June 6th 2016, she entered the pre-release stage of rehabilitation, where she met her good buddy Ping. While she understandably did not like the presence of humans, Vina did love to explore and would spend her days roaming the island.
Now 14 years old, lovely Vina feels ready to embrace freedom in TNBBR – time will tell if she and Ping continue to spend time together in the forest!
On June 13th 2006, Dina was rescued from the clutches of a local resident who had kept her as a pet for six harsh months. This poor orangutan had burns to her right arm and weighed only 4.5 kilograms – it was clear that she would need the help of the team at Nyaru Menteng.
After receiving medical treatment and a period of quarantine, Dina eventually joined Forest School, moving to the pre-release stage of rehabilitation on Palas Island on May 19th 2014. There, she developed wild behaviours, keeping her distance from humans but socialising with other orangutans as she honed her foraging skills.
At 14 years old and 34.3 kilograms, Dina is well-prepared to live in the wild and looks forward to life in TNBBR – we’re thrilled to know that this lovely young lady will taste freedom once more, thanks to the team at Nyaru Menteng!
Nikita was rescued from a resident of Palangka Raya City on May 28th 2008. At the time, she was just 2.5 years old and weighed in at 9 kilograms.
Diligent and bright, Nikita worked through every level of Forest School before joining pre-release on Palas Island on March 19th 2014. She was observed being friendly and gentle to others, but if somebody was to get on her bad side, she wasn’t afraid to stand up for herself!
Nikita is now 13 years old and is doing much better at a healthy 37 kilograms. After 10 years of rehabilitation, this lovely lady has certainly earned the opportunity to enjoy life in TNBBR – we look forward to following her story with updates from monitors in the National Park!
Asapa was only nine months old when she was rescued by the BOSF team. After two days spent as a pet in Kuala Kapuas, she was swiftly moved to Nyaru Menteng on August 20th 2003.
Like many of the other orangutans mentioned here today, Asapa excelled through Forest School and eventually moved to Bangamat Island on June 6th 2016. Here, she continued to work on her natural skills and proved to be a highly active young orangutan!
Asapa is now 16 years old and after a lifetime at the centre, she is finding freedom for the first time in TNBBR. She certainly deserves to be back in her natural home, where she belongs.
On October 1st 2005, Eropa was rescued from the grasp of a palm oil worker in Central Kalimantan. Owing to her light-coloured, blonde-ish hair, she was given the name ‘Eropa’ – translated from Indonesian to ‘Europe’.
After passing all levels of Forest School, Eropa moved to the pre-release island of Bangamat on March 24t 2016. Here, she was observed avoiding human interaction, but she proved herself to be one of the best explorers of all!
Now aged 15 years old, empathetic Eropa is ready to put her exploring skills to good use as she ventures into the forests of Bukit Baka Bukit National Park. Enjoy your freedom, lovely Eropa!
Nody was rescued from a palm oil worker in Central Kalimantan, who had allegedly held him captive for several days. He arrived at Nyaru Menteng on November 9th 2007 at the age of 2 years old, underweight and suffering hypothermia.
With his health in check, Nody moved onto Forest School and completed all phases before moving to Palas Island on March 25th 2014. There, he diligently honed his forest skills and grew to be a keen explorer – though he firmly disliked human presence.
At the age of 13 years old, Nody has started to grow cheek pads as he grows into a fine young man! With a sound skill set and developed natural behaviours, Nody is ready to move on to a life of freedom in TNBBR. Good luck out there, Nody!
The final orangutan ready for life in the wild is 13-year-old Hanyu. After arriving at Nyaru Menteng back in 2007 at the tender age of 1.5 years old, Hanyu has enjoyed sound progress during her time at Forest School.
As of March 19th 2014, Hanyu lived on Palas Island before moving to Bangamat Island on April 8th 2017. Despite the move, Hanyu proved to be a sociable young orangutan with excellent foraging skills – two attributes which enabled her to become quite a dominant figure alongside the other orangutans.
Hanyu is rather large for a 13-year-old, weighing in at 46.7 kilograms. Her years of rehabilitation and the valuable experiences gained on both pre-release islands have prepared her for an adventurous life in the forests of Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park – keep exploring, young Hanyu!
Each of the above 10 orangutans are now likely to be roaming free in the natural forests of TNBBR. The release brings the total population of rehabilitated orangutans introduced to the national park to 102, since the first release to the very same area 2 years ago. We love that this wonderful occasion has fallen in line with Independence Day and International Orangutan Day in particular, and we do hope to hear more about the released orangs as the months go by. Well done to the amazing Nyaru Menteng team, and good luck to all those orangutans embracing their new lives in the wild!
Do you want to be one of the first-ever volunteers to join our project at the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary? Visit the project page now to see how you can get involved, but be quick – spaces are likely to book out very quickly!
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