Yayang-Sayang and Diah: Cross-Province Orangutan Release

Yayang and Sayang

Yayang arrived at Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rehabilitation Center on January 3, 2004 after being confiscated by the South Kalimantan Conservation and Natural Resources Authority (BKSDA) from a resident of Banjar Baru. At that time, she was estimated to be 6.5-7 years of age.

When she arrived at the rehabilitation center, it was clearly visible that she had been tied around her neck with a rope. Yayang immediately received intensive care at Nyaru Menteng Clinic and soon joined Forest School.

Today, the female orangutan with slightly slanted eyes and dark brown hair is one of the inhabitants of Kaja Island, a BOS Foundation orangutan pre-release island. Yayang is now 15 years old and weighs 36.8 kg. She is very active, loves to explore and does not like to be approached by humans.

yayang 3


In April 2009, Yayang gave birth to her first child, Sayang, on Kaja Island. Sayang is now 3 years old and weighs a healthy 9.3 kg.  Sayang has already started to learn to look for her own food and is no longer constantly in her mother’s arms.

Sayang anak yayang 1


Now that Yayang and Sayang are ready for release, they recently underwent a DNA testing to confirm their sub-species status; a process that all release candidates must go through. However, unlike other orangutans in Nyaru Menteng, the results showed that Yayang and Sayang are  Pongo pygmaeus morio, a sub-species  inhabiting the eastern part of Kalimantan, instead of Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii which inhabits Central Kalimantan.

Thus following the standard national and international regulations from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Yayang and Sayang will be released in Kehje Sewen, East Kalimantan, instead of in Bukit Batikap like the other rehabilitated orangutans from Nyaru Menteng.

For Yayang, 8 years living and learning at the rehabilitation center and pre-release islands at Nyaru Menteng, Central Kalimantan has provided her with sufficient knowledge on how to survive in the forest together with her daughter Sayang.

The story of Yayang and Sayang also shows how important it is for authorized government officials to arrange for DNA testing before allocating a rescued orangutan to a specific rehabilitation center, thus ensuring that the orangutan will be rehabilitated and reintroduced in its natural environment according to its sub-species. Furthermore, placement of an orangutan in accordance of its sub-species will save on future release costs because the orangutan will not have to be moved and transported cross-provinces like Yayang and Sayang.


Confiscated from Sebulu, East Kalimantan, Diah underwent the rehabilitation process in Samboja Lestari, East Kalimantan. In 1999, Samboja Lestari experienced over capacity problems following a massive influx of rescued orangutans due to large forest fire. Diah, who had only been in Samboja Lestari for one year had to be translocated to the newly established Nyaru Menteng in Central Kalimantan.

When Diah arrived at Nyaru Menteng on November 20, 2000, this female orangutan was only four years old and weighed 15.5 kg. She joined the Forest School to regain her natural abilities. Diah is friendly towards other orangutans and in Nyaru Menteng, she has made friends with some other females. After the Forest School, Diah continued to join the pre-release stage on Palas Island. The loner Diah is really fond of exploring the island and highly skilled in choosing her natural foods.

Diah is now 17 years old and weighs 43 kg. A beautiful female orangutan, she has long dark brown hair. Soon Diah will be in her true home in East Kalimantan and enjoy the freedom of the Kehje Sewen Forest.



Along with this release event, five orangutans from the BOS Foundation in Samboja Lestari in East Kalimantan will be translocated to Nyaru Menteng. They are four female orangutans: Cici, Karen, Roma and Donna, and one male Marwoto. These five orangutans are of sub-species Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii which naturally inhabits the central part of Kalimantan, hence in the future they will have to be released in Central Kalimantan. The orangutans who have been living for quite a long time in East Kalimantan will undertake the last stage of rehabilitation process on one of pre-release islands managed by the BOS Foundation in Nyaru Menteng, before finally being released back into their natural habitat in Central Kalimantan.


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