Our team in West Borneo rescues and translocates a magnificent male orangutan.
A magnificent male orangutan in West Borneo has been rescued and translocated, thanks to the combined efforts of our Orangutan Protection Unit, the Forestry Department (BKSDA), Gunung Palung National Park (GPNP) and the local Palung Foundation.
On 5 March, assisted by the Palung Foundation, villagers from Benawai Agung Village, Kayong Utara Regency reported that they had encountered an orangutan in their plantation. The orangutan was eating jack fruit and rubber tree bark.
The following day, our Orangutan Protection Unit (OPU) sent a patrol team to the location to verify the report. The unit’s conclusion was that the orangutan had come from Gunung Palung National Park and, for his own safety and that of the local people, he should be taken back where he belonged.
On 7 & 8 March our team carried out a pre-release survey to identify a release site and create a pathway to it.
The following day, the four parties held a meeting to run through and confirm the plan to rescue and directly translocate the orangutan, whom they named Tomang.
The team arrived at the rescue point on the evening of 11 March in order to be ready to catch the orangutan early the following morning. Argitoe, leader of the OPU, successfully hit Tomang with a dart from his gun and he soon fell into the net held by the team below.
Vets Temia and Joost immediately gave him a medical examination, concluding that the big male was more than 20 years old and weighed about 50 kilos. Tomang looked to be in good health and so was taken by road, river and then on foot to the release site in Gunung Palung National Park and set free once more.
Alan Knight OBE, our CEO, said: “Our team will continue having to rescue orangutans like Tomang until the critical issue of land clearance is addressed. The time for taking action is now long overdue. If we are to find a solution, we urgently need to work with all stakeholders, not just citizens and governments but also companies that have plantation land in or around precious areas of orangutan habitat.”