Orangutan Released by International Animal Rescue

Orangutan Released by International Animal Rescue

Posted by James Whiteman on 20th Dec 2012

Pelangsi, the orangutan who lost his hand after being trapped in a snare, is given the gift of freedom for Christmas this month.

A young male was found in April this year after he had been caught in a snare near a palm plantation. He had been trapped for days without food or water. The tissue on his hand had become necrotic as a result of the snare around his wrist and he had injured his elbow in his desperate attempts to get free. His condition was extremely serious and for the first few days the medical team feared for his life.

Luckily the rescue team reached Pelangsi (named after the place where he was found) in the nick of time. He was rushed to IAR's Orangutan Rehabilitation and Conservation Centre in Ketapang where he gradually recovered from his injuries and his life-threatening condition. In May 2012 the IAR medical team, led by wildlife specialist vet Dr Paolo Martelli (Chief Veterinarian of Ocean Park in Hong Kong), carried out a complex and lengthy surgical procedure to amputate Pelangsi's hand which had suffered extensive damage and could not be saved.

For weeks after the rescue, IAR's medical team continued Pelangsi's intensive care until he was clearly on the road to recovery. However it wasn't until six months post-operation that he was considered to be healthy and strong enough to be released.

In December this year, a team from IAR and the Agency for Natural Resources Conservation (BKSDA) Ketapang released Pelangsi in Pematang Gadung forest. As his original home in the forest has been completely destroyed and converted into palm plantations, Pelangsi has had to be reintroduced into a different area. Pematang Gadung is one of the forests in Ketapang Regency with the richest biodiversity. Many endangered species can be found in the forest which is patrolled and monitored by a volunteer group of local villagers. Yet this area is not currently officially protected. "With the release of this orangutan and by raising awareness of the condition of orangutans and their habitat in Ketapang, we also hope that Pematang Gadung will be given the protected status that it deserves" states Adi Irawan, Manager of the Yayasan IAR Indonesia programme in Ketapang.

Alan Knight, Chief Executive of International Animal Rescue said that, "We have all been eagerly awaiting the day of Pelangsi's release. When endangered species like the orangutan are in crisis, every single individual counts. Pelangsi's story is cause for celebration, not only because his life has been saved, but also because his reintroduction into the wild is a small but symbolic step in support of orangutan conservation."

"Pelangsi's fate is no different to that of many other orangutans: their populations are rapidly being decimated in the wild, leading to serious concerns about their future survival," says Karmele Llano Sanchez, a veterinarian and Executive Director of IAR Indonesia.

Following the release, a team of experts will be following and monitoring Pelangsi's progress closely to see how he is coping.

IAR's rehabilitation centre at Ketapang is home to more than 50 orangutans, the majority of whom IAR aims eventually follow Pelangas's footsteps in returning to the wild. In the meantime, the charity and dedicated volunteers are in the process building a new centre with a large forested play area for the infants and spacious enclosures for the adults where they can develop the skills and the strength they will need to survive in the wild. If you would like to play a part in IAR's amazing work at Ketapang, join the IAR Orangutan Project.


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


It’s Orangutan Release Time!

It’s Orangutan Release Time!

12 more orangutans have been successfully released back...

Meet 12 orangutan candidates up for release!

Meet 12 orangutan candidates up for release!

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

Linda's Samboja Lestari Orangutan Adventure

Linda's Samboja Lestari Orangutan Adventure

Linda Duchin volunteered at the Samboja Lestari Orangutan...

Two Rewilded Cheetahs, Two Years On - A Remarkable Rewilding Story

Two Rewilded Cheetahs, Two Years On - A Remarkable Rewilding Story

Join us on a remarkable rewilding journey as we revisit the...

Janet & Mick's Unforgettable Gorilla Adventure

Janet & Mick's Unforgettable Gorilla Adventure

Janet and Mick joined The Great Gorilla Project last year...

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...


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