The captive but safe orangutan; a rescue and immediate release

On September the 24th, the Orangutan Foundation staff experience yet another new situation calling for the orangutan to be rescued. Through donations from World Orangutan Day, the Orangutan Foundation (one of six charities receiving funds from the day) is now able to carry out more rescues with this contribution. The story that unfolded shows that despite urban and agricultural development, there is still local compassion for this species.

One day in mid 2013, the residents of Sukamara were burning land in the area. Burning like this is used to clear land for agriculture and is incredibly common in Indonesia. Whilst burning though some vegetation, they heard noises and saw movement. They had found a wild young female orangutan. She was weak from inhaling smoke from the burning land and the residents could not see her mother anywhere. People who came from a local farm, owned by a Mr. Suriansyah, decided to take the orangutan to the owner’s house, away from the danger of this land conversion.

The orangutan was tied to the mango tree at Mr. Suriansyah’s house and allowed to get comfortable. Feeding her bananas and papaya – healthy enough, but not what she would receive in a wild diet – he reported that he had an orangutan in the police. He knew these mammals were protected and hoped the animal would be collected by groups with authority and ability to give her the best next stage in life.

After two months, Mr. Suriansyah was still feeding the female her fruit, and whilst she was safe in her tree, she was not free. All wild species deserve to live in their natural habitat. Since the police had not responded, he finally reported to the Forestry and plantation department. That’s when the Indonesian Government’s Natural Resources Conservation Agency of Central Kalimantan (BKSDA) and the Orangutan Foundation were called to help.

So on the 24th – a Tuesday - the female orangutan, named Adela, was released from her chain and taken in safety to facilities to check her health and age with the vets of each team. Adela is now about 5 years old and was very healthy after her two months on bananas and papaya, especially considering her restricted movement. She was immediately released at the reserve protected by the Orangutan Foundation.

With each donation, more forest is protected and more orangutans able to live the natural life they - and all species – deserve. Thank you to everyone who donated on World Orangutan Day and to you for reading this. Please find out more here and follow for daily forest news here.

Here is Adela in her previous mango-tree-home...