Wild orangutan rescue

The report below, about a wild orangutan rescue and release, was sent by Pak Tigor, our Orangutan Release Manager, before the tragic accident that occurred on the 21st January, which resulted in the death of Pak Anton Wahyudi, Head of the Indonesian Government’s Agency for the Conservation of Natural Resources Central Kalimantan section II (BKSDA SKW II). Pak Anton Wahyudi and his staff played a key role in the rescue. 

Tree where the wild orangutan fled to and climbed up

This post illustrates the important work of the Indonesian Government’s Agency for the Conservation of Natural Resources and the Orangutan Foundation but it highlights the chronic problem that Indonesia is facing:  increasing numbers of wild orangutans that are being encountered and needing rescue as their habitat continues to be destroyed and fragmented.  

One quick and simple way to support our work, that won’t cost you anything, is to vote for us in the Animal Friends Pet Insurance Facebook Challenge – if Orangutan Foundation gets the most votes we will win £5,000. We urgently need these funds to support our work in Indonesian Borneo.

Rescue team trying to capture the orangutan

Last month, after coordination with BKSDA SKW II we visited the village of Natai Raya, close to the Port of Kumai. We had heard there was an isolated female orangutan that was eating fruit from the villager’s backyards. Capturing and moving wild orangutans is always a last resort as it is risky for both the apes and humans and it is also very expensive. However, it was clear that in this case the orangutan needed to be removed from the village. There was a small swampy area with a few small trees but no fruit trees and on the other side of the swamp was an oil palm plantation.  

Wild female orangutan high in tree

The next day the rescue team made up from BKSDA SKW II staff and the Orangutan Foundation vet Dr Fikri, Uduk (Assistant Orangutan Release Manager) and Pak Tigor headed to the village to capture and trans-locate the orangutan. After 7 failed attempts to catch the orangutan she fled into the swamp and climbed a tree.

Wild female Bornean orangutan

The team decided to leave the village and return a few days later with more Orangutan Foundation staff to help. Finally, after a co-ordinated effort by all, the orangutan was isolated in one tree and was darted and safely rescued.

Orangutan being weighed

Veterinary checks on darted wild orangutan

OF Vet Team attending darted wild orangutan

DrFikri immediately performed the necessary health checks and the orangutan was taken to the BKSDA SKW II office in Pangkalan Bun.

Orangutan Foundation vet, Dr Fikri with darted orangutan

Darted orangutan being taken away from the village

Orangutan being taken to BKSDA office in Pangkalan Bun

The next day the orangutan was transported by klotok (longboat) to the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve.

Orangutan, awake and alert, being transported to the wildlife reserve

Heading into the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve

Arriving at Camp Mangkung, site for the release of translocated orangutans - Orangutan Foundation


Wild orangutan being taken to a safe release site - Orangutan Foundation

She was released at Camp Mangkung, a site established specifically for trans-located orangutans. 

Time to go back to the wild -Orangutan Foundation

Orangutan Foundation staff followed the orangutan for 14 days to ensure she was fit and well ans that there were no problems arising because of the trans-location.

There's a released wild orangutan in there somewhere! Orangutan Foundation

Mission accomplished.... all photos by Orangutan Foundation

Thank you to BKSDA SKW II and to Colchester Zoo Action for the Wild for the support of our Veterinary Programme and for funding the blow pipes and darts.

 Please consider a donation to support our vital work.

 Thank you,

 Orangutan Foundation