Expressing Love with Freedom: Day-1 | Nyaru Menteng 5th Orangutan Release

Coinciding with this year’s celebration of Valentine’s Day, the BOS Foundation at Nyaru Menteng, Central Kalimantan, began the 3-day activity of returning 20 orangutans to their forest home as an expression of love and dedication to the conservation of orangutans and their habitat

Starting today, February 13, 2013 and the next two days, February 14 – 15, 2013, five semi-wild orangutans and 15 rehabilitated orangutans finally left Nyaru Menteng and are heading to their pre-assigned release points at Bukit Batikap Conservation Forest.

The five semi-wild orangutans consist of three males – Rachmad, Klowor and Edwan – and two females, Darsi and Mexa. While the 15 rehabilitated orangutans consist of four mom-child pairs – Lesta-Lewis, Dagoy-Debby, Markisa-Uli and Centil-Ross – as well as four males – Danur, James, Mogok and Alibaba – and three females, Isis, Manggo and Lupita.

Travel cages all prepared

Travel cages all prepared (photo by: Monica Devi Krisnasari)

The good news is: this is the second time that the BOS Foundation releases “forest school graduates” or rehabilitated orangutans in Central Kalimantan. This is also the first out of a series of orangutan release activities scheduled in 2013.

The Journey has Begun!

Towards the end of last year, these 20 orangutans were moved from the pre-release islands in Nyaru Menteng to the quarantine enclosure at a location called “Nyaru Menteng 3”, in order to undergo a series of thorough health checks. The next step was implanting transmitters so they can be monitored by the Post Release Monitoring (PRM) team for at least one year after they are released. This pre-release quarantine process takes at least 60 days to complete.

Vet Riani preparing sedation doses

Vet Riani preparing sedation doses (photo by: Anton Nurcahyo)

Today, February 13, 2013 at 5 AM, Nyaru Menteng Medical Team comprising veterinarians Agus Fahroni, Fiet Hayu P., Riani Anggun Mumpuni, Maryos V. Tandang, Meryl Yemima and Barlian Purnama Putra began the process of sedation for the first group of orangutans. They were Markisa-Uli, Manggo, Edwan, Darsi, Klowor, James, Centil-Ross and Rachmad.

The First Group, Off to Puruk Cahu

Markisa, however, did not have to be sedated. Carrying her daughter, Uli, she was simply guided by the technicians and willingly entered her travel cage. The first group was then loaded onto a truck and taken to Tjilik Riwut Airport in Palangka Raya, about an hour drive from Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Reintroduction Center.

Transferring Klowor into his travel cage

Transferring Klowor into his travel cage (photo by: Anton Nurcahyo)

While travel cages of the first group were loaded onto the airplane, a press conference was held at Tjilik Riwut Airport to brief national and local media about today’s activity. Among the attendees were the Chief of Central Kalimantan Conservation and Natural Resources Authority (BKSDA), Ir. Kholid Indarto, and the CEO of the BOS Foundation, Dr. Jamartin Sihite.

Then, it was time to take off. The first group of 10 orangutans departed from Palangka Raya at around 8.30 AM and landed safely in Puruk Cahu, the capital of Murung Raya Regency, at 9.30 AM.

Loading travel cages onto truck in Puruk Cahu

Loading travel cages onto truck in Puruk Cahu (photo by: Iwan Pribadi)

Welcomed by a team of technicians in Puruk Cahu, the travel cages were loaded onto a truck and immediately taken to our existing transit enclosure located in the compound of PT. Indo Muro Kencana (IMK). Due to the high number of orangutans to be released during this event, some of the orangutans will spend two nights here, before being transported by helicopter to their final destination, Bukit Batikap Conservation Forest.

The Second Group, Off to Puruk Cahu

Meanwhile, back at Nyaru Menteng, sedation process for the second group started at the same time the airplane carrying the first group took off, which was at 8.30 AM. This group consisted of Alibaba, Mogok, Lesta-Lewis, Dagoy-Debby, Lupita, Mexa, Isis, and Danur. Just like Markisa, Lesta also did not have to be sedated. She and son Lewis cooperatively followed the technicians to their travel cage. And so did Isis.

Isis, gladly led to her travel cage without sedation

Isis, gladly led to her travel cage without sedation (photo by: Hermansyah)

Upon arrival at Puruk Cahu at 2 PM, they, too, were taken to the transit area at IMK. And by 3.30 PM today, all 20 orangutans have all settled comfortably into each of the enclosures.

Going Home Tomorrow!

In the next two days, they will again be divided into two groups. If all goes as planned and the weather is on our side, the first group will finally return home to the forest tomorrow, while the second group will get their turn the day after tomorrow.

Danur in his transit enclosure at IMK

Danur in his transit enclosure at IMK (photo by: Iwan Pribadi)

Stay tuned for more exciting updates of Nyaru Menteng 5th Orangutan Release! For live tweets (in Indonesian) of the entire process of Orangutan Release, follow our Twitter: @bornean_ou.

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