By Ellie Duncombe
Two orangutans have made an incredible journey back into the Bornean rainforest after several years’ rehabilitation at a conservation centre.
The great apes were released into the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park (BBBR NP) by a team from International Animal Rescue (IAR) in cooperation with the Institute for Natural Resources Conservation (BKSDA).
Amin and Shila were rescued several years ago after being kept in distressing conditions.
Amin was found in a very alarming condition with a chain around his neck.
The owner claimed to have first put the chain around the orangutan’s waist but then moved it to his neck when he grew bigger.
Shila is a female orangutan and is now seven years old, she was brought to the centre after being rescued from Monterado Village.
The two orangutans then underwent rehabilitation and during this time they learnt basic survival skills such as climbing, feeding and making a nest to sleep in each night.
Prior to release the medical team checked thoroughly that the health and natural behaviour of the orangutans made them suitable candidates for reintroduction into the wild.
In the last stage before release, they were moved to a special island and data was collected on their behaviour.
Finally, after a long and tiring journey into the heart of the National Park, Amin and Shila were set free.
Since Amin and Shila are both rehabilitated orangutans, a team trained by IAR will monitor the two orangutans over the next few years.
Dr Adi Irawan, IAR’s Operations Manager, said: “These monitoring activities are carried out to ensure the orangutans are thriving in the wild.
“The team will call in the vets if they appear to be sick or injured.”
The team is made up of people from villages buffering the park and they observe the orangutans from the moment they wake up until they build a nest and go back to sleep at night.
Karmele Sanchez, Programme Director of IAR Indonesia, said: “The rehabilitation process takes a long time and the funds and effort it requires are considerable.
“The length of the process depends on each individual, some are quick to learn, and some take longer.”