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International Animal Rescue Saving animals from suffering around the world

Mama and Baby Nam returned to their home in the rainforest

Mama and baby Nam, who were close to dying of starvation when they were rescued, have been released back into the wild two months after they were rescued.

Mama Nam, who is more than 20 years and her two year old baby were rescued from a plantation after villagers in Semanai, Simpang Tiga village complained that the starving animals were eating their crops. Our team in Indonesia travelled to the village just one and a half hour’s drive away and camped out under the tree where the mother and baby were nesting for the night.

The following day, in spite of Mama Nam's shocking physical condition, it took three anaesthetic darts to make her release her grip on the tree and fall into the net below with her baby still clinging to her.

Photos and footage of the rescue showed the severely emaciated state of the mother, IAR vet Ayu Budi Handayani who took part in the rescue operation said at the time: “It’s amazing that, despite the fact that she was so skinny and weak, this mother was still determined to protect her baby. She had already undergone the trauma of fleeing from the fires and losing all sources of food and shelter and then she had to contend with being hit by an anaesthetic dart and caught in a net. The poor thing couldn’t know that we were there to help not harm her.”

After assessing their condition the rescue team took them back to IAR’s Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Ketapang. The mother was so malnourished that she was no longer producing milk for her baby.

However, just two months later, both mother and baby were pronounced fit for release by IAR’s veterinary team. The mother was anaesthetised at 3am and given a final medical check before the release team left the orangutan centre two hours later. They arrived in the village of Simpang Tiga at at 6.30am and, with the help of six local porters to carry the transport cage, they walked for three hours deep into the forest before releasing Mama Nam and her baby back into their rightful home.

Karmele Llano Sanchez, Programme Director of IAR Indonesia, said: “Tragically last year large areas of the Gunung Palung National Park were affected by fires. Mama Nam was just one of the victims of these fires to be forced to leave the park in search of food and shelter. Our team trekked far into the forest to find a suitable quiet spot where they could release the mother and baby safely. We are extremely grateful to the national park authorities, Balai Taman National Gunung Palung, for their support and assistance with the release operation.

“We fervently hope that in future we will be able to protect the forest and its wildlife from further fires and prevent a repeat of last year’s disastrous events.”