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In our most recent release journey this past December, we took eight orangutans from the Nyaru Menteng Rehabilitation Centre to the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park (TNBBBR) in two separate trips. In the first journey, Cinta, Liti, Ojes, and Wanto were sent together to the Hiran River watershed. These four orangutans arrived at their new home without issue.

Cinta, a female orangutan, was the first to be released from her transport cage. Her eyes swept the area before she cautiously climbed the nearest tree. Liti, another female orangutan, followed as well, eager to enjoy the fresh air of TNBBBR. The cages of Ojes and Wanto were later opened. These four orangutans are now official residents of TNBBBR.

After the release crew finished their jobs, the Post-Release Monitoring (PRM) team and their support stayed behind to observe the behaviour of the four young orangutans. They split up so some could follow Cinta and Wanto as they went deeper into the jungle, while others stayed behind with Liti and Ojes.

Cinta and Wanto were spotted interacting with one another about 1 km from the river. The whole time Wanto was following in Cinta’s footsteps. Both climbed lianas and ate wild figs fruits (Ficus sp). By the end of the day, these two orangutans had settled on a tree to make their sleeping nests.

Liti played some tug-of-war with Ojes before climbing an 11-meter-tall tree. The two then got close, which eventually culminated in copulation. Released rehabilitated orangutans typically want to socialise with others as they learn about their surroundings and how to survive in their new home. Liti and Ojes have shown themselves to be overachievers as they help us to increase the orangutan population in the TNBBBR, the natural, old-fashioned way.

Text by: PRM Team at Camp Nles Mamse, Kehje Sewen Forest, East Kalimantan

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