Three baby orangutans find sanctuary at Nyaru Menteng
Nyaru Menteng – Borneo Orangutan Survival’s rescue and rehabilitation centre in Indonesian Borneo – has recently welcomed the arrival of three young orangutans from West Kalimantan. All three (aged between 2 – 3 years) were confiscated from private households – victims of the illegal pet trade.
Nyaru Menteng, founded by Lone Droscher-Nielsen, is home to 670 orangutans, ranging in age from a few months to about 8 years, where they are cared for and rehabilitated to prepare them for their ultimate release into the wild.
In February this year, the Natural Resource Conservation Agency (BKSDA)of the Forestry Department in Indonesia, confiscated Frengky – one of the orangutans – from the area of Singkawang, on the north coast of West Kalimantan.
Within two months, another young orangutan,Thomas, was rescued from Sintang, also in the northern part of West Kalimantan province. They were temporarily homed in transit cages in Pontianak, waiting for an opportunity to be transferred to a rehabilitation centre.
It wasn’t long before a third orangutan, Caleb, was confiscated – this time in Ketapang, a small town in the southern part of the province, abut seven hours’ journey by boat from Pontianak city. He was placed in the Yayasan Palung’s transit centre in Ketapang to await transfer to a rehabilitation centre.
No such facilities exist in West Kalimantan, and all the other orangutan rehabilitation centers in Central and East Kalimantan were all full at the time. In May, however, the Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP), which assists the BKSDA in caring for captive orangutans in West Kalimantan, heard that Nyaru Menteng would be able to accommodate these youngsters at the end of the month.
Nyaru Menteng is located in Palangka Raya, Central Kalimantan province. There is no road link between this area and West Kalimantan – nor is there a direct air link – so the orangutans would have to be flown via Jakarta. In the space of a day, COP had made arrangements with Sriwijaya Air and cargo to transport the orangutans to Palangka Raya, and also to transfer Caleb by from Ketapang. He joined Frengky and Thomas in BKSDA’s transit cages in Pontianak that night, to await the journey to Palangka Raya the following morning.
At 7.00 am the three orangutans were at the airport, ready for loading. The plane left at 8.15 am and arrived in Jakarta at about 10.00 am. After a 30 minute wait for the next plane, the orangutans arrived in Palangka Raya at about 12 noon.
All of three orangutans had travelled well and were fine. Thomas looked a little nervous, but when all three were finally put together in a big cage, they were so happy. Within minutes they were playing, hanging, biting each other – and eating!
Thanks to Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation in Nyaru Menteng, BOS-UK and Orangutan Appeal UK for making this transfer possible.
Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) is the largest primate rescue project in the world, with nearly 1000 orangutans in its care. It is the only organisation actively rescuing both wild and captive orangutans which have been displaced by the relentless devastation of their rainforest habitat for logging and the production of palm oil. The ultimate goal of BOSF is the release of healthy and rehabilitated orangutans back into protected forest. Borneo Orangutan Survival International is a registered international charity committed to the protection of the orangutan and its rainforest habitat, and relies entirely on donations to achieve this.
Report by Yenny Fildayani – COP/Centre for Orangutan Protection - June 2008
Photographs: Centre for Orangutan Protection