Orangutans learn how to become great apes

The Daily Telegraph: Malcolm Holland : September 28, 2012

ORANG-UTAN School is about to say goodbye to another 20 graduates.

Run by the Australian-backed Borneo Orang-utan Survival Foundation, the school teaches young orang-utans the vital skills needed for them to be released back into the island's jungles.

Earlier this year, BOS's first 29 graduates, who passed their tests in tree climbing, nest building, sourcing food and identifying threats, were returned to the wild and 20 more are to be released by the end of the year. Another 100 are due to return to nature next year.

Once in the wild the young orang-utans are monitored by specially trained BOS "guardians" to ensure they remember their schooling and are safe and well.

"Due to hunting, logging and deforestation for timber and palm oil plantations, the orang-utan population has been in steady decline for the past few decades," Tony Gilding, president of BOS Australia, said yesterday.

But the scheme isn't cheap.

"The journey for each orang-utan back into the wild - including airlifting each primate to the release site - encompasses a ticket price of $9450," Mr Gilding said.

BOS is holding a fund-raising night at Sydney University next month.

Picture: BOS Foundation