Wanariset

Wanariset Orangutan Reintroduction Project

Wanariset Orangutan Reintroduction Project is a forestry research station located 38 km from Balikpapan, the Capital of East Kalimantan.

The centre was set up and opened in 1991 by Dr Willie Smits. It followed the research and reintroduction model developed by the well-known conservation and orangutan expert, Dr. Herman Rijksen.

The concept is based on introduction of rehabilitated animals into areas where there are no wild orangutan populations but only after a strict period of quarantine. This reduces the risk of any spread of human disease into wild populations and also ensures that the delicate balance between the food supply in a forest and the number of orangutans living there is not disturbed.

As of 8 January 2007, the Wanariset Orangutan Reintroduction Project had released 381 rehabilitated orangutans into the wild in the protected Sungai Wain forest and the Meratus forest.

Most of the orangutans and all the sunbears previously housed at Wanariset have since been moved to Samboja Lestari. It is hoped to remove the remaining orangutans when funding and facilities become available.