Our Top 3 Orangutan Rehabilitation Stories

Our Top 3 Orangutan Rehabilitation Stories

Posted by Leanne Sturrock on Aug 18, 2017

Tomorrow is World Orangutan Day, and as the world prepares to celebrate the iconic great ape on its own important day, The Great Projects have taken the time to put together a list of our top three orangutan rehabilitation stories. Read on to rediscover the incredible conservation efforts that have played a part in protecting the orangutans, and make sure to return to our website tomorrow for a very special announcement…

Josh, The Orphaned Baby Orangutan

Baby orangutan

When it comes to orangutan rescue stories, there are few that will tug on your heartstrings as much as Josh’s. This little orangutan had an incredibly difficult start to his life, seemingly as a result of the coal mining industry.

Found clinging onto the body of his recently-deceased mother, Josh was only 4 months old when discovered at the mining site by a local civilian. But rather than doing the right thing and handing the infant orangutan over, the civilian decided to keep Josh as a pet.

Tragically, Josh would soon be cast to one side, his ‘owner’ weary of caring for such a needy young ape. Josh was then abandoned at a local picnic area, leaving his alone and incredibly vulnerable to predators. The only way that Josh had managed to survive was through being fed scraps by passers-by.

Days passed before Josh was spotted by another member of the public: this time, the concerned individual called the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, informing them of Josh’s whereabouts and becoming instrumental in his rescue.

Thankfully, Josh’s luck has changed over the years, and this sweet little ape is considered a well-loved part of the Samboja Lestari family. You can read past articles about Josh, including this latest update from July 2017!

Amazing Amy, And Her Escape To A Better Life

Orangutan release

Unfortunately, Josh is not the only orangutan to have had a difficult start to life. Another great ape, Amy, had to be rescued from some of the harshest conditions imaginable.

Just a short while ago, Amy was subject to a devastatingly lonely existence. Bound by chains and kept in the dark, tight confines of a wooden crate, Amy’s situation could not have been more different to the life she should have been living. Instead of spending her days climbing trees and enjoying the freedoms of the rainforest, Amy was imprisoned. She knew nothing more than the hard walls of her wooden prison, a heavy chain around her neck restricting even the slightest of movements.

It is unknown exactly how long Amy had spent living in such awful conditions, but health checks suggest that she may have been kept captive since infancy; a total of seven years. Her ‘owner’ insisted that she had only been in the box for around a month, but the detriment to her bones appears to tell a different story: unable to straighten her legs and with a badly bent spine, Amy is highly likely to have lived in the box her entire life.

Upon her rescue, Amy was devastatingly depressed, but still seemed to harbour a glimmer of optimism. As the doors to the crate were opened, Amy reached forward from her slumped position in the corner of the box, her eyes averted but still offering her hand to the stranger that had arrived to save her.

It may take some time to determine if Amy will ever be able to live back in the wild, but until then, read about the incredible hard work done by the time at the IAR Orangutan Project, and see how this brave ape is adjusting to a better life at the sanctuary.

The Long-Awaited Release Of Romeo

Romeo the orangutan

Finally, we turn our attention to Romeo, one of the long-time residents of Samboja Lestari. After 24 years in rehabilitation, this big, beautiful orangutan has finally begun his journey to freedom!

Arriving at the sanctuary back in 1993, Romeo has had one of the most arduous struggles of all. Rescued from a zoo in Taiwan at 6 years old, Romeo had already undergone years of stress and misery before finding solace at Samboja. Although he had been rescued, however, there were still difficulties ahead: since Romeo had hepatitis B, he was deemed unfit for release.

Things started to look up for Romeo a few years back, when scientists discovered that his strain of hepatitis B had actually come from orangutans, meaning his release would then be permitted. Unfortunately, though, Romeo’s plight did not end there: he still had to wait until there was room on the release island.

Since 2012, the team at Samboja have worked hard to rehabilitate and release as many orangutans as possible. It’s around this point that Romeo’s luck began to change: he would soon be moving onto the island, alongside some lovely female friends!

Read more about Romeo’s release, and find out how he has adjusted to his new life. It’s been a long time coming, but we can’t wait to hear more about Romeo’s future!

Want to work with orangutans? Head to our animal page to find out how – don’t forget to read our blog to find out which orangutan project is right for you, too! Remember: you’ll definitely want to check back on our website tomorrow (19th August), as we have an announcement that you won’t want to miss…so stay tuned!


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