Peni's Orangutan Rehabilitation

Peni's Orangutan Rehabilitation

Posted by Michael Starbuck on 23rd Oct 2014

This month, the team at International Animal Rescue have released news of the first ever orangutan rehabilitation and release ceremony held by regional government officials – and we felt that we had to share it! The release and ceremony in question concerns Peni – an orangutan that had spent four years undergoing extensive rehabilitation at the centre. Peni was just three years old when she was rescued by the International Animal Rescue team, and her situation before her rescue was tragic. Shockingly, after being pushed out of their rainforest home because of its conversion to a palm oil plantation, Peni and her mother were captured and brutally abused after wandering into a local village to look for food.

Sadly, following her torment at the hands of local villagers, Peni's mother died and Peni was left an orphan. Luckily the IAR Team were on hand to help and even though it took extensive rehabilitation efforts to prepare her mentally and physically for life in the centre, she soon managed to socialise with other young orangutans at the centre and settle into her new life. She was frequently observed in the forest play area behaving like a wild orangutan – making nests in the trees and rarely spending any time on the ground! Given her past treatment and the hands of villagers, she was very untrustworthy with regards to humans, and therefore she was classified as semi-wild and suitable for reintroduction.

On September 2nd, Peni was transported to the protected forest of Mount Tarak in the Nanga Tayap District in Ketapang – a region decided upon by the IAR team as the best to release orangutans back into the wild given its plentiful supply of food sources and a resident orangutan population well below its carrying capacity. Previous orangutans Helen and Prima from the IAR Rescue Centre had also been released here, so the team felt that Peni would stand a great chance and potentially even meet these fellow IAR alumni!

Peni's release team was symbolically sent on their journey by the Ketapang District Police Chief Commissioner, Mr Agus Setiyoko, and the release ceremony itself was attended by representatives of NGOs, agencies in the local governmental of Ketapang as well as members of the public. The release team subsequently undertook the five hour journey to Mount Tarak, before walking a further three hours to the actual release site. Below are the words taken from the IAR Team of the thanks and support for the help that they received with regards to this and many other orangutan releases:

"The local Ketapang government has continuously supported IAR in our efforts to rehabilitate and reintroduce orangutans back into their natural habitats. This is demonstrated by the signing of a collaboration agreement with the IAR Indonesia Foundation (YIARI) to safeguard orangutans and their habitat. None of our conservation efforts throughout West Kalimantan would be possible without the backing of the Ketapang government, and therefore we applaud them for their commitment and endless support."

"My Sustyo Iriono, Head of West Kalimantan BKSDA (Natural Resources Conservation Agency) issued a statement in line with this saying that orangutan habitat fragmentation has reached 55% in the last 20 years. He appreciates IAR stepping in to save the orangutans in West Kalimantan and expects that orangutans currently still in rehabilitation centres can be immediately returned to their natural habitat in the lush rainforests of Borneo".

Great news there and fantastic to hear that on her release, Peni started eating Baccaurea (a favourite fruit of orangutans) as soon as she could! After such a tragic beginning, all of us here really hold out hopes that Peni has a fantastic life and one that she truly deserves! Judging by the photos, taken by the IAR team, it seems she may just do that!

Of course, none of this would ber possible without the endless support provided by IARand the volunteers which join them when they join the ' IAR Orangutan Project'. If you would like to get involved and help rehabilitate orangutans like Peni, then please don't hesitate to get in contact with us via email ([email protected]) or phone (+44(0)208 885 4987). Volunteers are always needed to help!

And given that it is soon 'Orangutan Awareness Week', keep your eyes peeled on ourwebsite and social media accounts for some exciting news - watch this space!


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