Jambu to be first wild orangutan tracked after release
Jambu's stay at our rehabilitation centre has come to an end and he has been returned to the forest where he belongs. Rescued in December of 2015, Jambu was a victim of the terrible forest fires; he was found by villagers in a plantation with no forest to return to and no food to eat.
Back at our centre, Jambu was found to be seriously malnourished and had a disability with his feet. On closer inspection they also found he had thirteen airgun pellets lodged inside his body.
His disability didn't seem to affect his capacity for climbing and foraging, so after six months of recovery Jambu was ready for release in Gunung Tarak National Park. Given his disability, the team chose to attach a transponder on to Jambu so our monitoring team can track him through the rainforest and keep an eye on his welfare. This is the first time a transponder has been attached to a wild orangutan; usually they are reserved for those orangutans that have been in our care for much greater lengths of time. Jambu is accustomed to life in the rainforest but given his condition it was thought special dispensation should be made to ensure his safety.
The release team in Indonesia left the centre at 6am, arriving at Gunung Tarak at 11am and after a three and half hour walk they finally reached the release site. After vet Ayu opened Jambu's crate he climbed straight up the first available tree and immediately started foraging, not long after that the monitoring team spotted him building a nest.
Karmele Llano Sanchez, Programme Director, said "the forest fires in 2015 destroyed an estimated 30% of orangutan habitat. Orangutans like Jambu are the lucky ones because they get a second chance to live free. We do not yet know how many orangutans we have lost due to the fires. We sincerely hope the fires do not return, given the dramatic drop in orangutan population we do not know how long they can survive in the wild".