The Story of Rawit

Rawit was found bound tightly to a tree. Once again we are seeing what happens to orangutans when they are stranded in pockets of forest with oil-palm on one side and villages on the other. On 18th October, a female orangutan of around 5 years of age was rescued in Central Kalimantan. This is the story of Rawit, as sent by our vet just a few days ago.

BKSDA (Indonesian Nature Conservation Agency) staff received news from local police that villagers had a young orangutan in their possession that they wished to surrender.




When the team arrived to confiscate Rawit, it was noticed immediately that her limbs were very swollen, especially her left wrist, as a result of being tied up.



Shortly after the rescue, Rawit was placed in the Foundation’s care. After a couple of days of being cared for by our staff, the swelling was significantly reduced and Rawit was able to grasp the side of her cage which she couldn’t before.



Rawit has now joined our soft-release programme within the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve where staff will continue to monitor and support her progress until she is considered ready for release.

To help us provide Rawit and other orangutans on our soft-release programme with the very best care, please consider adopting an orangutan. All proceeds go directly towards supporting the Foundation’s soft-release programme.

A Race to Freedom

We recently received news from the field of a rescue which did not go as planned, but nevertheless resulted in success. Last week, Orangutan Foundation staff received reports from the local village of Pangkalan Lima of a sun bear trapped in a villager’s well. The smallest of the world’s eight living bear species, the Bornean sun bear is also the least studied, with little known about its biology or range.

Sun bear trapped in the well

Our vet first anaesthetised the bear in order for staff to be able to safely remove the bear without injury to either party. A net was used to lift the bear up from the well.

OF staff used a net to lift the bear out of the well


The Foundation vet took blood samples which were taken to test for diseases which may have left the bear vulnerable following release. Test results later showed the bear to be in good health.

When managing the rescue and translocation of wild animals there is always a degree of unpredictability as to how the animal itself will react. The bear was placed within a cage whilst still sedated ready for translocation into the forest nearby.

The bear was placed in a cage until release

But after two hours, staff found the bear had escaped! It took a further two hours to successfully recapture the bear from BKSDA grounds, where it was swiftly moved to a stronger cage until its release.

Later that evening it was further transferred to a safer cage overnight, as staff were still worried he could bite his way through the second cage. The bear was clearly very wild and needed to return to the forest, and staff successfully released it the next day in camp Siswoyo in Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

OF staff raise the door of the cage at the moment of release

Foundation staff are encountering a rise in the number of animals in need of translocation as they come in increasing contact with growing human settlements. Make a donation to ensure the Foundation can continue to keep the surrounding protected areas free from human development so that animals we rescue such as this sun bear have forest to return to.

The sun bear disappeared into the forest immediately following release

Orangutan translocated to forest reserve

Finally, last week Memes (the young female orangutan rescued from the oil palm plantation a few weeks ago) was successfully translocated to Camp Gemini, in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve, Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. Dr Fiqri, the vet of the Orangutan Foundation's Reintroduction Programme gave the all clear - Memes was healthy and free from worms. Pak Eko Novi, from the Agency for Conservation of Natural Resources of Central Kalimantan, gave permission for the translocation.

Orangutan, Memes, being moved from OCCQ 

Female orangutan, Memes, leaving the OCCQ and heading to the forests. 

Memes was transported from the Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine facility (OCCQ) by the Orangutan Foundation International's (photo above) translocation team. The Orangutan Foundation Reintroduction Programme staff, accompanied by Pak Eko Novi, then took over the final stages of the translocation process.

Orangutan, Memes, heading to the Lamandau reserve

Pak Eko Novi accompanying Memes in the speed boat up to Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve.  

After a journey of 2 hours Memes arrived at Camp Gemini, in the Lamandau reserve. 

Orangutan arriving at Camp Gemini, Lamandau reserve 

The whole translocation process was filmed by Trans 7 (the Indonesian television company) and was observed by staff from Tanjung Puting National Park. 

 TV crew filming translocation process

Trans 7 filming the translocation to raise awareness in Indonesia.

Dr Fiqri did a final check on Memes to make sure everything was well and safe for her. Memes seemed impatient to get back to her life in the forest (see photo below)!

Dr Fiqri observing Memes

Female Bornean orangutan, Memes, ready to get back in the trees! 

Immediately after the cage was opened by Pak Eko Novi, Memes climbed up the nearest tree and didn't look back, as she moved on into the other trees.

Orangutan climbing tree in Lamandau 

Memes headed straight for the nearest tree. 

Orangutan, Memes, in the forest.

Dr Fiqri watched and smiled as Memes disappeared into the forest. He's confident she will be very fast to adapt to her new home in the Lamandau reserve.

Smiling for the release of Orangutan Memes

Two Camp Gemini staff followed Memes into the forest until she made a nest and went to sleep. The staff spent the night in the forest, sleeping in hammocks. Memes woke up early the next morning and moved off very quickly through the trees, eventually losing her two followers.

Memes is now living free in the Lamandau reserve but our work doesn't end here, we must continue to protect these forests and the precious wildlife within.

Please support our work,

Hudi Dewe  (Orangutan Foundation Porgramme Co-ordinator) 

Male Bornean Orangutan Rescued

Orangutan Awareness and Orangutan Freedom On Wednesday 11 November 2009, the rescue team from Section II Natural Resources Conservation Agency of Central Kalimantan and Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine (OCCQ-OFI) rescued one big male orangutan from Tanjung Putri, a local village. The orangutan was 183 cms tall, weighed approx 80 kg and was about 20 years old.  Mr. Eko Novi (The head of section II of the  Natural Resources Conservation Agency of Central Kalimantan) gave him the name “Jejawi”.

 translocation male Bornean orangutan

Jejawi being transferred to the speedboat

Translocation Bornean male orangutan

Orangutan is transferred by speedboat.

 Translocation male Bornean orangutan

 translocation male Bornean orangutan

 translocation male Bornean orangutan

Mr. Eko Novi coordinated with Tigor, the Reintroduction Manager of Orangutan Foundation, for the translocation process. After medical observation by Dr Popo (OCCQ-OFI Vet) and Dr Fiqri (Lamandau Vet of Orangutan Foundation), on Friday 13th , Jejawi (the orangutan) was successfully translocated to the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve, the same place where Bruno, the sun bear, was released.

Translocation of male Bornean orangutan

Mr. Eko Novi said this is a good moment to participate in Pekan Peduli Orangutan (Orangutan Awareness Week) with real action to help the orangutan to get a new life in safe habitat.  

Translocation male Bornean orangutan

When the door of the transporter cage was opened, Jejawi immediately move out from the cage, he looked around for a second and then with fantastic speed, moved and reached the branch, he climbed the trees, and then moved to other trees, climbing until reaching the canopy.  We hope Jejawi is now free for a better and safer life in the Lamandau reserve.

Translocation male Bornean orangutan

 Translocation male Bornean orangutan

 Translocation male Bornean orangutan

Back in the trees, hard to see - as orangutans should be! 

The Orangutan translocation story was already published in Metro TV (the Indonesian television station) for News Program, and published in Borneo News (Central Kalimantan news paper) to encourage orangutan conservation awareness.

Thank you,

Hudi WD

Programme Coordinator

Please support our 'Protect Me and My Tree Appeal' - keep these orangutans in forest where they deserve to be.