This adorable footage shows an orphaned baby orangutan and her foster mum – who were paired together for survival by rescuers – being released back into the wild.
Monti, a 12-year-old female, and three-year-old infant Anggun, who were both rescued from human captivity, were released into the jungle of Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park in West Borneo earlier this month.
Monti was found in a village in Ketapang in 2009, and became Anggun’s foster mother at an International Animal Rescue orangutan centre in the same region after the orphaned baby arrived there in 2018.
The duo were encouraged into the rehabilitation sanctuary’s ‘forest school’ so Anggun could re-learn the natural behaviours of climbing, foraging for food and making nests which are essential for survival in the forests.
Experts hoped maternal primate Monti, who had already mastered these skills after 10 years at the centre, would teach Anggun what she knew – with the pair developing an extremely close bond.
Karmele L Sanchez, Programme Director of IAR Indonesia, said: “It was hoped Monti would teach Anggun the necessary skills to survive in her natural habitat while also protecting and nurturing her.
“The strategy was highly successful – Monto became increasingly maternal and Anggun grew more confident at learning new things.
“This proves that, even when orangutans like Monti lose their mothers at a very young age, they are still able to be good mothers, not just with their own children, but also with other baby orangutans.”
In the wild, baby orangutans stay with their mothers until aged between six and eight so it is hoped the bonded pair will continue to embrace their new lives in the jungle together.
Animal volunteers travelled for three days to the release point at the heart of the national park – transporting the orangutans over a 434-mile road trip which was followed by an hour-long boat journey and finally a five and a half mile walk.
Three other rehabilitated orangutans from the centre, named Merah, Ujang and Utat, were also released on the same day.
A team will now monitor the behaviour of all the newly-released animals to make sure they are adapting to their new environment.
Agung Nugroho, head of Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park, said: “Hopefully, the orangutans released will be able to form a new population and help maintain the existence of the species.”