Orangutan Rescue

Young orangutan rescued

Yesterday, we rescued a young orangutan, aged approximately 5-years-old. Sadly, the mother was absent, we don’t know what happened to her but most likely she has died, mother orangutans would not readily abandon their offspring.

Tranquillised orangutan, named Panglima

Tranquillised orangutan, named Panglima

The Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) team was made up of the Central Kalimantan Wildlife Department (BKSDA) and Orangutan Foundation. The Wildlife Department had received reports about an orangutan seen in a community orchard. The rescue team drove 45 minutes from the town of Pangkalan Bun to the reported location in the Pangkalan Lima area, South Arut District.

Orangutan nest high up in the tree

Orangutan nest high up in the tree

When the team arrived they saw two nests in one tree, but there was no sign of an orangutan. After a while the team decided to return to Pangkalan Bun. In the afternoon, the team received another report about the orangutan and so they returned. This time they saw a young orangutan very high up in the trees. The team decided to follow the orangutan until it nested in hope they could get a clear shot with the dart gun. Unfortunately they couldn’t and because it was getting dark and unsafe they decided to return very early the next morning, when hopefully the orangutan would still be in his nest.

Preparing the dart gun to tranquillise the young orangutan

Preparing the dart gun to tranquillise the young orangutan

Climbing up the tree to rescue the sedated wild orangutan.

Climbing up the tree to rescue the sedated wild orangutan.

The next morning, in the torrential rain, the rescue team arrived at the nest location at 4.30am. The orangutan was found above a nest, not far from where they had left him. The dart gun was prepared so that the orangutan could be tranquillised. They managed to get a clear shot and the orangutan fell into its nest. One of the rescue team climbed a 10-meter tall tree and managed to carry the orangutan down.

The Orangutan Foundation vet immediately conducted an examination and the orangutan was male, weighing approximately 15kg and was estimated at around 5-years-old. Our vet, Dr. Dimas Yufrizar, took blood samples for laboratory tests and gave injections of multivitamins and antibiotics.

The orangutan has been named Panglima (relating to the rescue location) - giving orangutans names helps the field staff with post-release monitoring and communications.

Tranquillised orangutan being examined by Orangutan Foundation vet

Tranquillised orangutan being examined by Orangutan Foundation vet

Panglima was transported to the Pangkalan Bun BKSDA SKW II office where he is being kept temporarily in a holding cage. Hendra Gunawan, Orangutan Foundation Program Manager said BKSDA have requested that the orangutan be translocated to the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, a protected area. Before release, Hendra said Panglima will be isolated until his blood tests return and then habituated for three months. His condition will be monitored by the Orangutan Foundation vet and field staff.

The rescue team are confident that Panglima’s release into the reserve will be successful and that he will go on to live a wild and safe life in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

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Orangutan Foundation vet's surprise river encounter

Orangutan Foundation’s vet, Dr Dimas Yuzrifar and our Reintroduction Manager, Pak Azhari, visit the post-release orangutan monitoring camps, in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve , Indonesian Borneo, on a weekly basis to check up on the orangutans, who live there. Last week, they had an unexpected encounter…

Play time! Okto and Shifa at Camp Buluh January 2019

Play time! Okto and Shifa at Camp Buluh January 2019

Their first stop was Camp Buluh, where orphaned orangutans Okto and Shifa were out playing in the trees. Camp Buluh staff said that they were both healthy and active and because they had been given their multi-vitamin and anti-worming injections the week before, they were left to carry on playing.

Okto having his regular boost of essential minerals and vitamins.

Okto having his regular boost of essential minerals and vitamins.

Second stop, Camp JL - young orphaned orangutans 5 year old Nyunyu (left) and 3.5 year old Mona (right) playing in the trees.

Second stop, Camp JL - young orphaned orangutans 5 year old Nyunyu (left) and 3.5 year old Mona (right) playing in the trees.

The next stop was Camp JL to check on Adib and see how his arm was healing and to see Mona, Nyunyu, Timtom and Boy.

Camp JL- 3.5 year-old female orangutan Timtom, January 2019.

Camp JL- 3.5 year-old female orangutan Timtom, January 2019.

The only access to the release camps is by river and so Dr Dimas and Pak Azhari headed off to their final camp of the day, Camp Gemini . Half way through their journey they came across a longboat with an unexpected passenger!

Female orangutan, Sheila in Camp Gemini’s longboat.

Female orangutan, Sheila in Camp Gemini’s longboat.

Adult female orangutan Sheila and her infant Sony, had untied and taken the longboat, belonging to Camp Gemini, and were using it to cross the river. Sheila was in no hurry to leave the boat but eventually they climbed out onto the river bank and up into a tree. Azhari and Dimas managed to tow the longboat back to Camp Gemini, where the relieved team of Camp Gemini staff were waiting. They’re devising another way to prevent these highly intelligent great apes from taking a boat again!