Orangutans Ael and Sukma released back into the forest
In October we rescued Ael, a wild orangutan who was caught by villagers in a remote part of West Borneo. Six men had wrestled her to the ground and tied her down. Ael found herself in the midst of an excited crowd who were taunting her as she struggled to break free.
Fortunately one of the villagers alerted us and our rescue team found Ael and took her back to the IAR’s orangutan rehabilitation centre in Sungai Awan, Ketapang, Western Borneo.
Ael is 7 years old and has a very wild nature. Once she was out of quarantine at the centre she was introduced to a younger orangutan called Sukma.
Sukma is a young orangutan that was rescued back in May 2013. A man found her near a palm oil plantation, but she too has a very wild nature and the man found her too much to handle, so he called IAR.
In rehabilitation, Sukma found a surrogate mother in Ael who in return enjoyed looking after Sukma.
Preparing the Orangutans for Gunung Tarak Forest
In the last few days, preparations were made to move Ael, Sukma and two other orangutans to be released in the area Gunung Tarak, a five hour drive north of IAR’s orangutan rescue and rehabilitation centre in Ketapang. Gunung Tarak is a large protected forest which joins the 90,000 hectares of Gunung Palung National Park.
Ael receiving her medical check at the International Animal Rescue Rehabilitation Centre in Ketapang, before her release.
Before they could be released, the four orangutans were micro-chipped and given medical checks. Blood and hair samples were taken. Weight and measurements were recorded and X rays taken.
Releasing the Orangutans Back into the Wild
The four were then transferred to transportation cages and put onto two trucks. The team left the centre at midnight and drove for five hours along treacherous roads to Gunung Tarak. On arrival nineteen of the local village men met the release team to help carry the heavy cages on the arduous three hour trek to the release site. They were all very helpful, showing a great interest in the orangutans. The group had to keep stopping on the way for the porters to change over and to feed and check on the orangutans. The start of the trek was very hot but as soon as the team reached the release site the heavens opened and the rain poured down
Releasing Ael and Sukma
When Ael and Sukma were released, they shot up the trees, vocalised noisily and threw branches at the group on the ground to make their displeasure at the human presence known.
The entire team of porters, vets, trackers, BKSDA staff and the data gathering team were thrilled to witness the successful release of these four orangutans into their new home.
Thank you to all our supporters and people who donated to help make this possible.
More details on the other two releases to follow!