Welcoming International Primate Day, 6 Orangutans Gain Freedom

On August 28, 2018, the BOS Foundation released six more orangutans from the Samboja Lestari Rehabilitation and Reintroduction Centre to the Kehje Sewen Forest, in East Kalimantan. With this release, we also welcome International Primate Day, which falls annually on September 1.

Two separate groups were dispatched for this 17th release: The first group departed on August 27 from Samboja Lestari and included four male orangutans (Mads, Riva, Bieber and Restu), while the second group left the very next day from pre-release Juq Kehje Swen Island in Muara Wahau and included two females (Josta and Menur).

After sedating the first group of release candidates, our team carefully moved each orangutan into a transport cage and then loaded them onto 4×4 vehicles. The team departed from Samboja Lestari and headed to Dermaga 67, located approximately 200 meters from the banks of the Telen River and the last point accessible by vehicle. The first departure group travelled for 17 hours, making stops every two hours to check on the orangutans and provide them with food and water.

After sedating orangutans are carefully transferred into transport cages

On the road from Samboja Lestari to the Kehje Sewen Forest


The second group is ready to leave

On the morning of August 28, the second group – carrying release candidates Josta and Menur – departed from Juq Kehje Swen Island and travelled for three hours to Dermaga 67.

Once the team arrived, the transport cages were carried down to the river bank and transported across to the other side using a small ‘ces’ boat. After reaching the other side, the cages were then loaded onto the utility vehicles that would carry them to release points in the southern part of the Kehje Sewen Forest.

Transport cages are carried to the release points


Six Orangutans finally return home to forest!

Both teams had made it to the predetermined release location by around noon, and all six orangutans were finally released back to their natural forest home.

As the youngest among the candidates, Restu’s cage was opened first. He slowly exited the cage and headed toward a tree directly opposite the doorway, but then grabbed hold of some liana instead. After climbing up a bit, he stopped to sit down and look around. He scanned his new surroundings with a somewhat bewildered look on his face, as though not quite believing he had returned to the forest. He then continued to climb up, and happily settled in the forest canopy.


After Restu had been safely released, it was then Riva’s turn. Unlike Restu, Riva was not confused at all. He made a beeline for the nearest tree and climbed straight up into the forest canopy. There, he took a well-earned rest on a comfortable branch after his long and tiring journey. Without wasting time, the four remaining orangutans were also released to the forest. All four were soon climbing the trees and enjoying their newfound freedom.



After the last transport cage was opened, the Post-Release Monitoring (PRM) team quickly took over, carefully observing and documenting the released orangutans’ activities. The PRM team will conduct a 30-day, nest-to-nest monitoring period to ensure all six orangutans are adapting well to their new lives in the forest.

With the release of these six orangutans, the BOS Foundation has thus far released 97 orangutans to the Kehje Sewen Forest since 2012. This brings the total number of orangutans released by the BOS Foundation to natural habitats to 374, from both Samboja Lestari and Nyaru Menteng Rehabilitation Centres.

Text by: BOS Foundation Communications Team

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