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On 6 December 2022, the Balikpapan BKSDA received a report from an employee of PT. Balikpapan Wana Lestari (BWL) that an orangutan had visited the workers’ camp and interacted with staff over four consecutive days. According to the statement, the orangutan was suspected to be female and appeared to be pregnant. In response to the report, a joint team from the Balikpapan BKSDA and the BOS Foundation prepared to leave for Muara Toyu in Long Kali District, Paser Regency, East Kalimantan.

The team left the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre the following day and headed to the rescue site, arriving in the evening. Together with security staff from PT. BWL, the rescue team discussed and formulated an action plan for the next day. According to the latest information, the orangutan had been seen in the afternoons making nests around the workers’ camp and begging for food in the mornings. The workers had given her rice and instant noodles.

Siti made nests around the workers’ camp and begged for food

On 8 December, at around 6:30 a.m., the orangutan reappeared at camp. Dr Ni Made Ayudita, assisted by technicians and BKSDA staff, anaesthetised her, so she could be moved and undergo a medical examination. Based on examination results, the team identified the female as Siti, an orangutan who BOS Foundation released on 2 November 1997 in Sungai Wain. She was in good physical shape, had no wounds, and was estimated to weigh around 40 kilograms. 

Siti was not pregnant, as had been reported, and the team could quickly identify her due to the presence of a microchip that contained information proving she was a resident of the original BOS Foundation East Kalimantan rehabilitation and reintroduction project in the 1990s. In the 25 years since her release, she mainly lived independently but occasionally entered residential areas and had once before been translocated to Meratus.

Following the medical examination, the rescue team rushed Siti to the rehabilitation centre and placed her in the Socialisation C enclosure, where she immediately fed on the fruit offered to her.  Due to her prolonged exposure to humans, she will now undergo a three-month quarantine period, during which our technicians will monitor and observe her daily. Siti will then undergo a routine health check and other examinations before hopefully being released back into the forest.

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