6 Orangutans Make Epic Journey Back to Freedom

Following years of rehabilitation, six lucky orangutans are finally starting their new lives after being returned to their rightful home in the Bornean rainforest.

According to International Animal Rescue (IAR), which cared for them at its orangutan rescue center, this release is especially epic because there was a mother in the group who was the first to have been released with a baby, and it’s the first time a baby has been released with a foster mom.

ZwX8gNAhCredit: International Animal Rescue

Maili, who was rescued from being kept as a pet, gave birth during her rehabilitation to baby Osin. Lady had been rescued from a mine in 2010 and has been undergoing rehabilitation since then.

LH6p7gX8Credit: International Animal Rescue

Obi, a male, had been found near a palm oil plantation and was kept as a pet in terrible conditions before being rescued in 2014.

ZP4IJPe0Credit: International Animal Rescue

Muria had also been kept as a pet for more than three years before she was surrendered to IAR in 2014. According to IAR, she was independent and quickly began displaying her natural behaviors, making her an ideal candidate to take care of Zoya, an infant who had been orphaned.

cZOfEzZ8Credit: International Animal Rescue

Now, after years of intensive care, this group has finally returned to their forest home. After a 17-hour journey, that was assisted by members of a local village, they were released in the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park (TNBBBR), which was chosen because it’s the perfect habitat for them with plenty of food, as a national park it offers protection, and previous surveys had found no other orangutans there.

NnJGOOn3Credit: International Animal Rescue

It’s hoped the group will thrive in their new home, and help rebuild a population of orangutans there.

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Sadly, these amazing great apes are now critically endangered and continue to face a number of threats ranging from being hunted for bushmeat and having infants stolen for the pet trade, to being robbed of their forest homes as land is lost to palm oil and rubber plantations, agriculture, development, logging, mining and fires.

O1hb190YCredit: International Animal Rescue

Although they continue to need serious conservation action on our part, efforts are underway to rehabilitate and release more soon.

“The release of six rehabilitated orangutans is just one part of the collaboration programme between TNBBBR and IAR Indonesia that has been agreed in the Annual Work Plan (RKT) Year 2019. There are three orangutan releases planned during 2019. We hope the release and post-release monitoring will ensure that the orangutans in TNBBBR thrive in their new habitat and their numbers increase so that the population becomes sustainable,” said Chief of TNBBBR, Hernowo. “This is the fourth year in which TNBBBR has collaborated with IAR Indonesia and things are working well and smoothly, owing, among other things, to solid coordination, cooperation and support between both parties.”

Photo credit: International Animal Rescue


Jan S
Jan S25 days ago

thank you

Ildi E
Ildi E25 days ago

Thanks for saving these orangutans. Great Job!

Paulo R
Paulo R26 days ago

great news

HEIKKI R26 days ago

thank you

Janet B
Janet B26 days ago


Sheila S
Sheila S26 days ago

What a heartwarming story!

Shae L
Shae Lee27 days ago

Thanks for sharing

Virgene L
Virgene L27 days ago

Wonderful news! Thank you IAR and villagers.

Laura R
Laura R27 days ago

Thank you for the post.

Louise A
Louise A27 days ago