Following on from the 6 individuals who have been rescued and translocated since mid-July, Orangutan Foundation staff in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo were alerted to yet another emergency earlier this month.
Reports from BKSDA government officials suggested that an orangutan had been found by a group of villagers who had discovered the great ape when it ventured into an area of community plantations- quite possibly searching for food as a result of the remnant fires that have blotted the region in recent weeks.
On arrival, our team were able to observe that the orangutan was a female who had already been independently captured by the local people and put inside a transport crate. Explaining that this action should only be conducted by trained personnel, Orangutan Foundation staff then began their journey back to base with the orangutan in toe. However as our team were to soon find out, this was not the end to this orangutan’s story.
Shortly after the rescue our team received a worrying piece of news. It transpired that during the capture of the female orangutan, she had also been separated from a young infant that local residents wished to keep as a pet. Fortunately however, Orangutan Foundation and BKSDA officials were again on hand to rescue the orangutan baby from the community and reunite it with its mother.
Our vet was very pleased to see both orangutans in good health following medical examinations and observe the infant immediately feeding once reunited the mother. The 16-year-old female who had been given the name Kina, appeared to be very active as she breastfed Kino, her 2-month-old son.
A few days after their initial rescue, our team were so relieved to see Kina and Kino immediately take to their new forest at the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve as they quickly climbed out of their transport cage into the trees. It’s always an uplifting experience for us to release orangutans back into the wild where they belong, and then for them to behave as if they’d never left.
On the other hand however, it is a concern that today we are still seeing orangutans in need of rescue, and perhaps more worryingly that some local communities remain keen on keeping these great apes as pets.