Choki arrives at Samboja Lestari

BOS Foundation: March 3, 2016

The BOSF Samboja Lestari Orangutan Reintroduction Program recently received another orphaned orangutan. Officers from the Kutai National Park (TNK) contacted our team in Samboja Lestari on February 15 to report they had found a baby orangutan aged approximately 1-2 years old, who had a serious wound on his forehead.

Our rescue team immediately travelled to Sangatta to investigate the situation. After a six-hour drive, our team met the frightened and distressed orangutan. Our vet, Hafidz, reviewed the health situation of the young orangutan and had no choice but to tranquilize the young male so as to be able to clean the wound and administer antibiotics.

The team then transported the orangutan, whom they named Choki, to Samboja Lestari for rehabilitation. Shortly after arriving at Samboja Lestari, the medical team conducted a thorough health check on Choki. The team discovered he was malnourished and had worms, and that his actual age was around four years old!

Severely underweight at only seven kilograms, Choki was understandably mistaken for an infant by the staff from the TNK. At four years of age, a healthy orangutan typically weighs around 15-20 kilograms.

Choki was placed under the care of the BOS Foundation veterinarian team who will monitor him round the clock. Choki’s condition is improving every day. His head wound is starting to heal and the worming medication is doing its job. Choki no longer displays a dislike of humans and can often be seen actively playing and climbing. His appetite has also improved. We all hope Choki’s health keeps improving so he can soon join his peers in the Forest School Level 1.

Our team will continue to provide loving care until the time comes when he can return to natural habitat. Including Choki, the total number of orangutans currently at Samboja Lestari is 206 individuals. Every young, rescued orangutan has suffered great personal trauma from the terrible experiences and tragedies they have endured. In almost all cases, we are certain their mothers have been killed.

Only some of these young orangutans actually make it to our centers, whilst many more infants tragically die, either during their capture or whilst being kept illegally, before we are even alerted. Orphaned orangutans continue to arrive at our rehabilitation center through rescues, confiscations and handovers. Depending on their age it can take up to seven years for an individual to develop the survival skills needed before they can be released safely back to the forest. Whilst we strive in our efforts to reintroduce orangutans to natural habitat, more young orangutans continue to arrive.

Orangutan conservation can only be successful with the support of law enforcement efforts and the protection of natural habitat. We need support, commitment and real action – both financially and politically – from all stakeholders to reach our goal of securing the future survival of orangutans in Indonesia.