Freedom in the wild

If you want something done, ask a busy person. This expression is especially true for Orangutan Foundation Director, Ashley Leiman OBE, who has just returned from a field visit to our programmes in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. One of the highlights was a tree planting ceremony to celebrate the planting out of over 22,000 seedlings in degraded forest habitat in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

The most memorable day though involved the return to the wild of seven different species. Captured from the wild and kept as pets, these animals had been confiscated by the Wildlife Department of Central Kalimantan (BKSDA Kalteng). The day was also a chance for Ashley to meet Bapak Adib Gunawan, the new Head of Wildlife for Central Kalimantan, who was overseeing the releases.

Staff from two of the guard posts in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve with Ashley Leiman OBE, Director of the Orangutan Foundation and Bapak Adib Gunawan, Head of BKSDA Kalteng. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Staff from two of the guard posts in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve with Ashley Leiman OBE, Director of the Orangutan Foundation and Bapak Adib Gunawan, Head of BKSDA Kalteng. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

The animals due for release included two changeable hawk eagles, a hornbill, a pangolin, a slow loris, two reticulated pythons, a sun bear and a young orangutan.

OF Director Ashley Leiman OBE with Pak Adib, Head of Wildlife, about to release a Changeable Hawk Eagle

OF Director Ashley Leiman OBE with Pak Adib, Head of Wildlife, about to release a Changeable Hawk Eagle. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

The orangutan, a handsome young male of around one-and-a-half years old, had been kept as a pet in a nearby town. He was named Adib, after the new Head of Wildlife, and has joined our Soft-Release Programme at Camp JL, in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, where he’ll learn the skills to survive in the forests.

Adib the orangutan, named after the new Head of Wildlife

Adib the orangutan, named after the new Head of Wildlife. Image© Ian Wood.

Adib the orangutan, a handsome male of around 2 years old.

Adib the orangutan, a handsome male of around 1 and a half years old. Image© Ian Wood.

Paddington the sun bear helping himself to a light refreshment. Credit Ian Wood

Paddington the sun bear helping himself to a light refreshment. Image ©Ian Wood.

A playful sun bear, named Paddington (also a pet), was taken to Camp Siswoyo, where Orangutan Foundation staff will care for him until he is old enough to live independently. The slow loris, being a nocturnal primate, was released after nightfall.

The hornbill has a nibble pre-release. Image ©Ian Wood.

The hornbill has a nibble pre-release. Image ©Ian Wood.

The changeable hawk eagles and hornbill were released from a guard post in the reserve, and Ashley opened the slide door to the crate of the pythons.

Changeable Hawk Eagle, post release. Image ©Ian Wood.

Changeable Hawk Eagle, post release. Image ©Ian Wood.

Close up of a Changeable Hawk Eagle. Image© Ian Wood.

Close up of a Changeable Hawk Eagle. Image© Ian Wood.

One of the animals released was a large reticulated python. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Two large reticulated pythons were released. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Over 3 meters in length, Ashley questioned why anyone would want to keep the snakes as a pet! We’ll post a separate blog on the pangolin, so watch this space.

Python released into the wild. Image ©Ian Wood.

Python, post-release. Image ©Ian Wood.

Ashley pointed out that our work for these animals has only just begun. Through our habitat protection work we must ensure that the forests stay standing, so the wildlife stays in the wild.

OF Director Ashley Leiman OBE with Pak Adib, Head of Wildlife, Central Kalimantan. Image© Ian Wood.

OF Director Ashley Leiman OBE with Pak Adib, Head of Wildlife, Central Kalimantan. Image© Ian Wood.

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