It was such an exciting morning at Nyaru Menteng! Today, 21 orangutans began the first leg of their homecoming journey to the forest of Batikap.The day started early for the Release Team. Vets, technicians, film crews and other team members were up and ready by 5 am this morning. Together, they went to the new Quarantine Facility where the release candidates had been staying for the last few weeks. As soon as they arrived, the vets prepared their anesthesia equipment and got ready to sedate the orangutans. Gundul was the first to be sedated using special darting equipment, followed by Leonora and Lamar, Jamal, Sif and Sifa, Mangkutub, Kopi, Giant and Paluy. These 10 orangutans were the first group to be transported by plane to Puruk Cahu, the capital of Murung Raya Regency; a 45-minute flight from Palangka Raya. Once sedated, they were transferred into travel cages, each labeled with their names. Mother and child were put into the same cage. All cages were then loaded onto a truck and a double cab pickup. And they were off to Palangka Raya Airport. All this process was filmed by BBC. Pelita Airline arrived on time at 8.30 am and the process of loading-unloading began again. They were unloaded from the truck and the double cab pickup, and loaded onto the plane. By 9 am, all travel cages were on the plane, all secured and ready to go. They took off not long after, accompanied by vet Maryos V. Tandang and Nyaru Menteng Program Manager Anton Nurcahyo. They arrived in Puruk Cahu Airport at 10.15 am. In Puruk Cahu, another loading-unloading process commenced. They were unloaded from the plane, then loaded onto another truck that soon took them to the transit enclosures at the areal of PT Indo Muro Kencana (IMK). This first group all settled into their transit enclosures by 10.40 am. They will overnight here at IMK today. Tomorrow, weather permitting, they will be transported by helicopter to Bukit Batikap Conservation Forest, their home sweet home. Back in Nyaru Menteng, preparation for the second group was already underway. Mother-child pair Emen and Embong were the first to be sedated. They didn’t have to darted as they allowed our Head Vet Agus Fahroni to enter their enclosure and sedate them one by one. The rest, though, had to be darted. This second group consists of Emen and Embong, Chanel and Charlie, Gadis and Garu, Menteng, Jamiat, Terusan, Gusti, and Iyos. Just like the first group, they were all transferred into travel cages, taken by truck and double cab pickup to Palangka Raya Airport, and flown into Puruk Cahu by the same Pelita Airline. The plane arrived back in Palangka Raya at around 11.30 am and after loading the next 11 orangutans, it took off to Puruk Cahu at 1 pm. Accompanying the second group were vet Meriam Sirupang, BOSF CEO Jamartin Sihite and BOSF Senior Advisor Jacqui Sunderland-Groves. The second group arrived in Puruk Cahu at 1.45 pm. They were soon unloaded from the plane and loaded onto a truck. By 2.40 pm, they had joined the first group at IMK and all settled into their transit enclosures. The first leg of the journey has concluded smoothly and safely. The orangutans have been fed and are now resting peacefully, waiting for tomorrow when they are finally going home!