Rescuers are celebrating the successful release of three critically endangered Bornean orangutans – one male and two females – who have just been safely returned to their home in the rainforest.
The male, named Abun, had to be rescued over the summer after he was found in a community garden. He escaped there after being driven from his home by a land clearing operation.
The two females, Pinoh and Laksmi, were both victims of the pet trade. Pinoh was surrendered to officials, while Laksmi had been abandoned in a cage by her owner, who was trying to escape the police. Thankfully they were taken in by International Animal Rescue (IAR), which helped them begin the lengthy rehabilitation process.
Pinoh and Laksmi attended forest school at IAR’s rehabilitation center in Ketapang, where they learned the skills they would need to survive on their own. After graduating, they were moved to a pre-release island, where they were monitored and their skills were assessed to see whether they were ready to go out on their own.
“After a comprehensive rehabilitation process lasting six or seven years, we can ensure that orangutans like Laksmi and Pinoh are ready for reintroduction,” said Karmale L Sanchez, Program Director for IAR in Indonesia. “In the wild infant orangutans stay with their mothers until they are at least seven years old and our rescued orangutans need a similar time to become independent.”
The release of the orangutans was carried out by a team from IAR, along with members of the local Forest Department and the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park.
For these three, things worked out well and they were all deemed ready to return home to their rightful place in the forest. Last week, the team, including local residents who helped carry the crates holding the orangutans, set out on a three-day journey that took them by road, boat and foot to the release sites in the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park, which was chosen because it still has plenty of habitat and food available.
Abun, was the first to be set free.
According to IAR, once his crate’s door was opened, he climbed the tallest tree he could and started eating.
A few hours later, Pinoh and Laksmi were also back in the jungle.
IAR will be monitoring them to ensure they’re happy and healthy in their new home, and we can hope they will thrive there.
“The most uplifting thing is to see an orangutan returning to his natural habitat,” said Uray Iskandar from the Forest Department. “The orangutan species is native to Indonesia and we must work to protect it and to protect its habitat.”
Although the rehabilitation and release of these three is cause for celebration, their stories are also a sobering reminder about the threats orangutans are up against. Sadly for Bornean orangutans, who are now Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, each life is incredibly precious. Although they fare better in some areas than others, a recent study found that they’ve declined by an alarming 25 percent over just the past 10 years.
Tragically, these incredible great apes continue to face a host of threats that range from being hunted for bushmeat and having infants stolen for the pet trade to losing their homes to development and fires. The loss of habitat they’re experiencing has led to starvation for many, and has increased the risk of violent conflicts with humans as they move closer to us in search of food.
IAR is currently caring for many who have found themselves in need of life-saving interventions, and will continue to take in more if we don’t act to mitigate the threats to their survival. Hopefully the story of this latest release will help raise more awareness about the plight of orangutans, and garner more support for increasing conservation efforts to protect them in the wild.
For more on how to help, check out International Animal Rescue.
Sumber : http://www.care2.com/causes/three-critically-endangered-orangutans-are-returned-to-their-forest-home.html