Doren returns home

BOS Foundation: 17 October 2014: Hermansyah & Monterado F

Two months after one of our beautiful female orangutans, Doren, disappeared, the team at Nyaru Menteng were delighted to find her by Rungan river near Kanarakan Village, which is more than 30kms away from where she was last sighted on Bangamat Island.

Doren arrived in Nyaru Menteng as a five year old in February 2003, after being confiscated from Tanjung Jurung village in the Katingan Regency. At the time she still displayed traces of wild behavior and over time seemed to grow really fond of her babysitters, though she seemed to dislike the technicians.

After finishing forest school Doren was moved to the pre-release island of Bangamat in December 2012, where she continued through the final part of her rehabilitation process aimed to enable her to live independently in the wild.

On the Island Doren developed good relationships with other orangutans including Ella, Ine, Imel and Zakia. She appeared to prefer spending her time alone and also exploring. During feeding times, Doren was always one of the last to reach the feeding platform, which was not a problem for her as she was very skillful in foraging for natural foods like forest fruits, rattan shoots and termites which occur in abundance on the island.

In June 2014, the technicians reported that they could no longer see Doren on Bangamat Island and that she had stopped coming to the feeding platforms. The team conducted a search which proved futile and the technicians concluded that she had possibly left the island by crossing the Rungan River. At that time and due to the long dry season, the river had drastically receded with the water level only at knee height at some points.

On 1 September, two months after her disappearance, Nyaru Menteng received information from a resident of Kanarakan village, 30 km from Bangamat claiming to have spotted an orangutan by the Rungan River.

Hopeful that it was Doren a team led by vet Arga Sawung Kusuma was dispatched for Kanarakan Village by speedboat. It took the team 45 minutes to reach the village, longer than usual because of the receding water level and fallen trees along the way. Arriving at Kanarakan village, Ani, a villager and her two friends guided the team to Sahang Lake, where they started to survey the area to find the orangutan. After an extensive search on land and river the team finally found signs of an orangutan through dung remains and food leftovers which led them to a rubber plantation.

Soon after, the team detected movement in the trees across the river and were delighted to find that it was indeed an orangutan and most probably Doren! She seemed to recognise her caretakers and didn’t move away from the approaching team. Instead she stayed in the tree and watched the team intently. The team was able to sedate her and Vet Arga carried out a thorough physical check. Much to the relief of the team the implanted chip confirmed that the orangutan was Doren and they immediately transported her back to Nyaru Menteng for further examination.

Even though Doren is known to be a very active orangutan, it was surprising that she travelled so far during her explorations. Now 12 years old, she is able to adapt in the forest just like a wild orangutan and equipped with these critical skills, we believe that she will find her way back to her true home in the forest very soon.

Photos by : Hermansyah & Indrayana, Communication BOSF NM

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