Romeo's Release! The Big Male Orangutan Settles Into His New Home!

Romeo's Release! The Big Male Orangutan Settles Into His New Home!

Posted by Connor Whelan on Jun 7, 2017

We have fantastic news from the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Project as one of its most long serving residents finally got a taste of freedom; Romeo the male orangutan was released onto a pre-release orangutan island on the 5th June!

Romeo arrived at Samboja way back in 1993 when he was repatriated from Taiwan and he has been progressing through the rehabilitation process at the sanctuary ever since. The big male orangutan joined two female apes who were already resident on the island, Fani and Isti, and the hope is that Romeo will adapt to his new home and eventually be suitable for release back into the wild!

Romeo The Bornean Orangutan

Currently there are seven pre-release islands at Samboja, with a further four under construction. Island 5 will be Romeos new home, and his release was made possible thanks to the hard work of The Great Projects volunteers! Over the last couple of months volunteers have been hard at work helping to construct and paint the platforms that Romeo, Fani and Isti will use for climbing and sleeping. These platforms are crucial as they give the orangutans a chance to perfect their climbing skills and practise the natural behaviours they will have to exhibit in the wild.

Volunteers Working in Borneo

Take a look at the volunteer achievements at Samboja this year.

2017 has been a very busy year for orangutan releases at Samboja Lestari and Jamartin Sihit, BOS Foundation CEO said: “2017 is the year of #OrangutanFreedom, and we have released 13 orangutans to the Kehje Sewen Forest in East Kutai this year alone. After Eid, we will be ready to release more orangutans into the forest. Today, we are setting free one of our orangutans who has been living in Samboja Lestari for years, so he can live in an open environment, after 24 years of living in one of our enclosures.”

He also added: “Our orangutan reintroduction plans were halted for 10-years because there was no forest available to accommodate our ex-rehabilitated orangutans. This led to the accumulation of hundreds of orangutans who share a similar fate to Romeo, waiting for the opportunity of freedom. We have overcome this tremendous challenge, but the forest in East Kalimantan that BOS Foundation now manages – Kehje Sewen - is still unable to accommodate the other 100 orangutans we plan to release. We need support to secure new forest areas.”

Orangutan Island in Borneo

This island is Romeo's new home!

Romeos release onto the orangutan island went without issue, and with the hope being that he adapts well and quickly to his new semi-wild lifestyle he will be closely monitored to evaluate whether or not he will suitable for release into the rainforest at a later date. The team at Samboja are hoping that Romeo displays enough natural behaviour to show that he would be able to survive in the wild, and if this proves to be the case then Romeo will eventually be released back into his natural rainforest home once a section of forest has been found!

We would like to take this chance to say a big thank you to both the staff at the Samboja Lestari Sanctuary and of course our fantastic volunteers who have helped to make Romeo’s release possible! With more hard work such as this we will have a lot more orangutan releases to tell you about in the future so why not become our next orangutan volunteer?


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


'Seeing elephants for the first time was like seeing dinosaurs!'. Check out how Erwan found his experience volunteering on The Great Elephant Project! 

Watch our video to find out more about the issues faced by whale sharks as a result of unsustainable touristic practices.

Take a look at this video of two volunteers, James and Marina, discussing their time on The Great Orangutan Project.

Latest Blog Arcticles


The Great Orangutan Project - A Volunteer's Perspective

The Great Orangutan Project - A Volunteer's Perspective

Our volunteer Gaynor decided to visit Borneo with her two...

How Volunteering With Animals In Namibia Will Change Your Life!

How Volunteering With Animals In Namibia Will Change Your Life!

Ever considered volunteering with animals? An increasingly...

Human - Wildlife Conflict In Namibia

Human - Wildlife Conflict In Namibia

Human-wildlife conflict has significantly increased over...

What Volunteering at The Great Orangutan Project Actually Involves

What Volunteering at The Great Orangutan Project Actually Involves

Find out exactly what is involved with The Great...

How You Can Make A Difference At The Great Orangutan Project!

How You Can Make A Difference At The Great Orangutan Project!

Want to find out how you can make a difference to the lives...

An Update From Zululand – Close Encounters of the Animal Kind!

An Update From Zululand – Close Encounters of the Animal Kind!

Read on for some exciting updates from our friends at the...

International Whale Shark Day - A Majestic Species At Risk...Due To Tourism?

International Whale Shark Day - A Majestic Species At Risk...Due To Tourism?

The 30th of August is International Whale Shark Day - but...

Ellie's 19 Top Tips For The Great Elephant Project!

Ellie's 19 Top Tips For The Great Elephant Project!

If you're looking to volunteer on The Great Elephant...


Signup to our newsletter

Please read our Privacy Policy
Where you can go
Contact Info
UK Office
The Great Traveller Ltd,
3 Dairy Yard
Star Street
Ware, Hertfordshire
SG12 9BX
United Kingdom
Opening hours: 9am–5pm

T: +44(0) 208 885 4987

Foreign Office Travel Advice