As we at BOS Australia are proud to present our upcoming Eyes of the Orangutan screening events in Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland, we would like to introduce you to one of the orangutans who have been directly affected by modern wildlife tourism and have fuelled the documentary. Meet Suja.
In 2006 at four years of age, Suja was repatriated from Thailand together with 47 other orangutans as part of a mass rescue from Safari World, where she had lived a life of cramped captivity, her freedom and her fellow orangutans’ freedom sacrificed for tourist photo ops.
She arrived at BOS Foundation’s Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre on 22 November 2006, weighing only 14 kilograms. Seven years later, while still at Nyaru Menteng, Suja gave birth to her first child, who was named Syahrini. Tragically, Suja was unable to properly care for young Syahrini, and the two had to be separated. In the interest of what was best for the baby, Syahrini was raised by a human surrogate mother.
Eleven years later, on 5 April 2017, Suja was transferred to Salat Island. On the pre-release island, Suja further developed her natural skills, and on 18 February 2019, she gave birth to her second child, Bella. This time, being more prepared, Suja was ready for motherhood and took great care of her baby.
Possessing a gentle spirit, Suja was always friendly toward her caregivers, and she tended to avoid competition with other orangutans on the island by keeping herself busy with her explorations.
Then, on 15 December 2019, Suja and Bella completed their long rehabilitation process and were ready to be released into their natural habitat in the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park.
It was a long road to full rehabilitation for Suja, but she learned to thrive in her wild home. And her baby Bella, born during her pre-release, never has to know a life of captivity.
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