Since January we have been receiving an increasing number of requests to rescue wild orangutans and move them to the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve, Indonesian Borneo. Within the last week we have rescued 2 adult male orangutans. These rescues not only demand extra staff time but are expensive and present a challenge especially at a time when we are having to make major cut backs in the UK and some in the field.
The first orangutan was reported in a community-owned plantation in Mendawai Seberang. The owner said that the orangutan who was wandering round his plantation was a male. The Foundation team visited the plantation, which is a mixture of rubber, pineapple and oil palm.
Mixed Crop Plantation - the dominant vegetation is rubber and pineapple
In the rubber trees old and new orangutan nests were seen.
Orangutan nests found in the rubber trees
There was also the visible remnants of crop damage for example pineapple fruits that had been eaten by the orangutan. After a few hours of trying to find the orangutans, the team gave up.
Pineapple Fruit eaten by orangutan
About 5 days later the plantation owner telephoned us again because the orangutan was still causing damage to his crops. Our team left for the plantation immediately and found the large adult male.
Orangutan in tree
Dr Fikri, our vet began preparing the anesthesia which he administered by using a blowpipe, which was generously funded by Colchester Zoo’s Action for the Wild.
The orangutan was successfully darted first time.
Photos above: orangutan has been sedated
Weighing and medical examination of orangutan
Orangutan in the Cage
After conducting health checks to ensure that no injury had occurred he was put into the cage. All rescued animals must be taken to the BKSDA (wildlife department) office.
Orangutan taken from the Plantation
Orangutan transfer to kelotok
Orangutan at the BKSDA Office
Orangutan in Move to Kelotok
Last Friday, 11th May, the male was released into the Reserve. This involved having to transfer the 65 kg orangutan from the pick-up truck into a Kelotok (motorised canoe). The river levels in the reserve were extremely low so it was decided that the orangutan should be released from the canoe rather than trying to lift the cage out and carrying to the forest. As soon as the cage was opened the wild orangutan climbed straight out and up into the tree and moved off into the forest.
Orangutan in tree
Orangutan free in the trees
The second rescue occurred 2 days ago from an oil palm plantation near the village of Amin Jaya. It was another adult male, about 15 years old. More details and photos to follow shortly.
Thank you for your continued support and thank you Carol Ritchie for you lovely email!
Photo 23. Orangutan From the BKSDA Office to the Karang Anyar
Photo 24. Orangutan in Move to Kelotok
Photo 25. Orangutan in Release I
Photo 26. Orangutan in Release II
Photo 27. Orangutan in the Trees I
Photo 28. Orangutan in the Trees II