Successfully Released: Our First Rehabilitated Orangutans

Here is the momentous news you have all been waiting for! On the 2nd November 2012, we reintroduced our first rehabilitated orangutans from Nyaru Menteng into Bukit Batikap Conservation Forest in Central Kalimantan!


Having safely been sedated and transported in their individual travel enclosures, the first helicopter arrived at a pre-designated point in Batikap at approximately 10.30 am on 2nd November 2012, carrying Chanel and Charlie, Leonora and Lamar, Emen and Embong and Terusan. All of these orangutans were released at the end of Transect David.

Leonara and Lamar were released by Lone

Emen and Embong were released by Simon

Terusan was released by Anna Marzec

As soon as each of the orangutans were released they all immediately climbed up into the trees. Terusan immediately started moving through the trees and approached Emen, then paused to play with her infant Embong for a short while before moving off towards the North-West. Terusan was clearly enjoying his freedom and was later located after 3pm about 550 m from his release point – he continued to travel northwards..

Emen and Embong

Emen and Embong stayed close to the release site up the trees where Emen made two nests before deciding that she was happy with her final nest making efforts and stayed there. Embong was seen happily eating leaves close to his mum.

Chanel and Charlie who were released by Anton

After their release Chanel with Charlie were located at 2 pm around 300 m from their release location. Charlie was observed trying out an assortment of different fruits.

Leonora and Lamar

Leonora and Lamar were followed immediately after their release and data recorded on their behaviour. They too moved deeper into the forest soon after release, but at about 3 pm when Leonora heard the sound of the boats arriving to collect the team, she came down to the river and sat on the ground. She tried to approach one of the boats, however the team moved calmly away to leave her to make her nest for the night. Remember that on the pre-release islands, the sound of boats equals the provision of food and it will take time for some of our orangutans to learn that this is not the case in Batikap!

At around 12.50 the second and last group of oranguans reached Batikap by helicopter. Here Sif and Sifa, Gadis and Garu, Jamiat and Menteng arrived!

Jamiat was released by Lone

Gadis and Garu were released by Jacqui

Sif and Sifa were released by Lone

Menteng was released by Anton

All from this group also quickly exited their travel enclosures and climbed high up trees except for Menteng, who slowly and regally exited his enclosure then turned around and inspected the enclosure, lifting it easily from side to side. Eventually he wandered towards a nearby tree and climbed up.


The monitoring teams commenced locating and following the orangutans however Jamiat had started to move quickly away. Gadis and Garu stayed locally nearby but out of sight as did Menteng and Sif and Sifa.


Once the team were happy with the progress we decided to leave them until the following day. Waiting on the shingle beach for the boats, Menteng arrived on the scene. Being inquisitive as to what we were doing, he tested the water from the mainland to the beach area but found the river was too fast. Not to be deterred, Menteng found a route to the beach using nearby trees to balance. Once on the beach, the team moved back to the mainland and Menteng went back to his river crossing route and followed the team. The team moved back to the beach and this continued until the boat arrived to carry the team away. Menteng was very calm and simply wanted to find out what we were doing and probably wanted to know where his dinner was!

What an amazing day for all of us, both human and orangutan alike!


2 thoughts on “Successfully Released: Our First Rehabilitated Orangutans

  1. Reblogged this on Megatransect Cassie-style and commented:
    Great post and amazing work by Simon Husson, one of the founding directors of OuTrop. Re-releasing orangutans into the wild is extremely expensive and time-consuming, as there aren’t many places left in Kalimantan that are both suitable and accessible, so this release is a huge triumph for orangutan conservation. All of us at OuTrop have been hearing about this process along the way, and it’s great to know that they have finally been successful!

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