The team in Batikap gave some photos to the last helicopter pilot for us yesterday! These are photo updates from the first group of orangutans – the eight semi-wilds – released in Batikap on November 1, 2012.
As you may remember, the eight semi-wilds were divided into two groups. The first group consisted of Paluy, Gundul, Jamal and Mangkutub. They were arrived safely in Batikap at 10.51 am on November 1, 2012. Batikap Camp Manager, Ahmat was there to welcome them and unpack their travel cages assisted by Azis.
The journey was not over yet. They had to be taken by traditional Dayak longboats called “kelotok” (if they are smaller, they are called “ces” – pronounced “chess”).
Arriving at the first designated release point, the team must continue the journey on foot deeper into the rainforest of Batikap, carrying each of the travel cages.
All four orangutans were immediately released. The following photos show our technician Purnomo opening Gundul’s travel cage. She instantly ran to a tree in front of her and climbed it quickly. After which, she found a nice branch to sit on and enjoy her first moments of freedom in her new home!
The team then rested a bit while waiting for the second group to arrive. The second group consisted of Gusti, Iyos, Kopi and Giant. Our beloved Lone Drøscher Nielsen accompanied by Nyaru Menteng Program Manager Anton Nurcahyo and our Scientific Advisor Simon Husson was on standby at the second release point.
The Squirrel helicopter carrying the second group was finally spotted high in the sky of Batikap! It dropped off the second lot of orangutans at 1.20 pm. The team quickly unloaded the travel cages.
In the meantime, the Bell helicopter carrying passengers and logistics also landed shortly. Vet Maryos V. Tandang came on this helicopter. Again, the second group was transported on kelotok to their release points.
The first to be released from the second group was Giant. The big guy swiftly climbed the nearest tree. And just like Gundul, he decided to sit on a branch and enjoy the view.
Next was Iyos. Once she was in the trees, she was swinging and swinging happily. It was such a heartwarming sight.
Then feisty Kopi was released by Lone herself! If you’ve read Kopi’s profile, you’d know that this young lady is very, very wild. She is active and never likes to be around humans. She was the one who escaped from our facility in Nyaru Menteng and lived in the surrounding forest for 13 months! And despite our concerns and worries, she was fine!
So as soon as Kopi tasted freedom, it was only to be expected that she hurriedly climbed a tree in lightning speed and “disappeared” among the thickness of the forest canopy.
Last but not least, it was Gusti’s turn. Gusti spotted a tree with hanging roots. Perfect! He immediately used the roots to swing and climb and move from tree to tree.
The day ended successfully. Eight semi-wilds are home where they belong. The empty travel cages were sent back to Puruk Cahu and the team retreated to camp to rest.
While in Puruk Cahu, after unloading the last empty travel cages, the remaining team members took their time to pose together with our donors and partners from BHP and IMK.
Photos and stories from the next day of orangutan release (November 2, 2012) will be posted when some of friends from the forest return to Nyaru Menteng next Tuesday or Wednesday. All of these photos have also been uploaded on a Facebook album. So while waiting for new updates, you can enjoy them on our Facebook page.