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5 orangutans formerly kept as pets in West Borneo are released back into their home

Five orangutans have been released back into the wild in West Borneo after spending years undergoing rehabilitation at an orangutan centre in Ketapang.

Five orangutans have been released back into the wild in West Borneo after spending years undergoing rehabilitation at an orangutan centre in Ketapang.

The Natural Resources Conservation Agency for West Kailmantan (BKSDA), the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park (TNBBBR) and a team from International Animal Rescue (IAR) Indonesia carried out the release. The five orangutans consisted of three males named Beno, Jacky, and Puyol, and two females named Isin and Oscarina.

Usually, in the wild baby orangutans will stay with their mothers until the age of 7-8 years and learn the skills necessary for survival from their mothers. However, these orangutans were separated from their mothers in order to be sold as pets which made it harder to teach them as they were not raised or taught these skills.

Out of the orangutans, Isin was the most recent to be rescued and Puyol has spent the longest time in the IAR rehabilitation centre, having been rescued in the Kendawangan area in 2010. Jacky was rescued from the Muara Pawan area in August 2013, Beno from the Simpang Dua area in 2015 and Oscarina was rescued from Pontianak in 2011.

The head of the TNBBBR Centre, Agung Nugroho, stated: “All these activities and studies are carried out to ensure that all orangutans who have been released can live safely and have adequate food. When a release has been carried out, it doesn’t mean our work is done. The monitoring team will continue its work to ensure that each released orangutan can adapt to its new habitat,”

The reason they went with the TNBBBR area was due to the results of a survey that showed the number of tree species providing food for the orangutans was high while the natural population of orangutans was quite low.

The Head of the West Kalimantan BKSDA, Sadtata Noor Adirahmanta, said: “It’s time for each to learn to live side by side in harmony. Humans as creatures that are considered the smartest, have the greatest responsibility to create and maintain the harmony of nature,”

The programme has proved so successful that three baby orangutans have been born naturally in the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park area to the rehabilitated orangutans released there. The birth of a new generation of orangutans has fuelled hopes that the orangutan population in the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park and in West Kalimantan in general will be maintained and sustainable.

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