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Jakarta Post

Rescued orangutans return to wildlife freedom

Wed, November 28, 2018   /   02:20 pm
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    On the way: The International Air Rescue (IAR) team along with local residents carry cages with orangutans inside to the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park in West Kalimantan. JP/Dasril Roszandi

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    By land or water: The IAR team transports the orangutans by boat on the Mentawai River to get into the deep forest, in which they are going to be released. JP/Dasril Roszandi

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    Hard slog: After cruising along the Mentawai River, the IAR team and local residents carry the orangutans through rough and hilly terrain. JP/Dasril Roszandi

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    Welcome home: Members of the IAR team open the cage doors and two orangutans begin their first steps back into their natural habitat. JP/Dasril Roszandi

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    Freedom: A rescued orangutan begins climbing a tree after being released by the IAR team into the wild. JP/Dasril Roszandi

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    Contemplation: An orangutan sits patiently inside a cage. JP/Dasril Roszandi

Dasril Roszandi

A number of men carry cages with orangutans inside but thankfully in this case the magnificent animals are not being captured.

Instead, the men are from Indonesia’s International Animal Rescue (IAR) and they are actually carrying the orangutans into the deep jungle in order to release them back into their natural habitat.

The recent release operation was part of the IAR’s cooperation with the West Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Agency and Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park.

The four orangutans on their way into the wild were young and were named Ongki, Rambo, Kepo and Ami. All of them were rehabilitated victims of illegal orangutan trading and captive breeding.

It took a 17-hour drive from the city of Ketapang in West Kalimantan to the office of the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park in Nanga Pinoh, Melawi regency, West Kalimantan. After taking a night’s rest, the orangutan rescue team continued the long journey the next morning.

The team traveled along an off-road route by car for four hours and cruised along the Mentatai River for another hour, before trekking up rough terrain with the support of local residents, who helped carry the cages to the release destination.

The villagers were of great assistance in transporting the heavy ape cages uphill and downstream, covering a distance of more than 9 kilometers across forestland. Without their help, the team would not have been capable of smoothly completing the release operation.

Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park was chosen as the place of release because of its natural and pristine forest. A survey by the IAR showed large quantities of trees as food supply, while the national park status means it is conducive to the rescue of the apes and conservation of their habitat.