MEET THE YOUNG ORANGUTANS PREPARING FOR LIFE IN THE WILD
The Orangutan Foundation, supported by Born Free, is helping orangutans who were kept as pets find their feet
In the rainforests of Indonesian Borneo, the Orangutan Foundation, supported by Born Free, is working to save and protect orangutans in need of help – either orphaned, injured or taken from the wild to be kept as pets – and help them learn the skills they need for eventual release back to the wild when they are ready.
The Orangutan Foundation’s five post-release monitoring camps within the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve oversee orangutans reintroduced to the wild and closely monitor the 10 young orphans currently part of the soft-release programme. The programme offers a new future to these vulnerable youngsters, who have had appalling starts to their lives, and helps them learn the essential skills they need to survive in the wild.
Meet some of the young orangutans currently being taught by the Foundation:
TIMTOM: THE SURVIVOR
Timtom was the youngest orangutan to enter the Orangutan Foundation’s soft-release programme. Rescued from life as a pet at just nine months old, Timtom had been through so much. In the wild, infant orangutans would rarely leave their mother’s side until they are around seven years old, and so Timtom received round the clock care in the early days following her rescue, and given milk three times a day, followed by banana and papaya to aid her development. Now, aged around four years old, Timtom is content and confident. Considering her challenging start to life, the Orangutan Foundation are very happy with Timtom’s progress as she learns the necessary skills for an independent life in the wild.
Help us continue to care for Timtom with a Born Free orangutan adoption.
OKTO: THE TV STAR
Playful, water-loving Okto is around eight years old, and starred in the 2016 documentary Monkeys – An Amazing Animal Family on Sky 1, which means he’s quite well-known! Okto had been kept as a pet until he was rescued by a local wildlife department in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo, and entrusted into the care of the Orangutan Foundation. Having spent much of his early life on the ground rather than in forest canopy, it took time for Okto to learn to climb and play in trees. Being part of the soft-release programme has helped him progress and learn new skills. He’s already learnt how to build a nest, and has spent a night in the forest under the watchful eye of his carers, but he will not be able to be fully released to the wild until he is ready.
MONA: THE ACTIVE ONE
Five-year-old Mona had a tough start to life. Until the age of two, she was kept alone as a pet in cramped conditions, inside a small wooden cage. The whereabouts of Mona’s mother are not known, it’s most likely that she was killed, but fortunately in 2017 she was freed from captivity and entered the Foundation’s soft-release programme. Today Mona is the most active of the orphaned orangutans under the foundation’s care. She is as comfortable playing with other orphaned orangutans, as she is foraging for food or practising nest-building on her own. These characteristics will help her as she continues to develop on her journey back to the wild.
Images © The Orangutan Foundation