We have great news from pre-release island #8 at our Samboja Lestari rehabilitation centre in East Kalimantan. Not long ago, vets and technicians decided to transfer six additional orangutans to the three hectares large sanctuary. With now nine inhabitants, the island is full of life and activity from the island bunch.
A pre-release island is like a university for orangutans who have completed forest school. It is the last step of the rehabilitation process before the final release to the wild. On pre-release islands, the students can put their skills to the test, while supervised by technicians, who also provide supplemental food.
In early 2019, we had to relocate all orangutans from pre-release island #8 temporarily so we could fix an area affected by a landslide. After several weeks of construction work, the “campus” was ready to welcome students back.
Elaine was first, followed by Kola-Kola. Both came from Samboja Lestari’s most advanced group, Forest School 2. The third graduate, Yordanka, had been moved directly from Forest School 1, after making extraordinary progress and displaying all the skills required to live independently on a pre-release island. The three students adjusted quickly to their new environment and spent a lot of time together.
Noting this positive development, our team decided to move more graduates to the island, hoping that they would share knowledge and learn from one another. With Sally, Leann, Andreas, Anggoro, Anthony and Riana, the island bunch is now complete. And despite their different characters, the red-headed crowd is getting along extremely well.
Now the nine students have plenty of time and opportunities to perfect their survival skills. Due to the global pandemic, we have currently suspended our orangutan release activities, so the orangutans on our pre-release islands must wait longer for their final journey home. But with such a fun crowd like on island #8 we are sure the waiting time will not be boring.