Two Rehabilitated Orangutans Have Given Birth To Their First Babies Ensuring The Future Of Their Species In Borneo

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The orangutan rehabilitation program in Borneo, which is managed jointly by International Animal Rescue (IAR) Indonesia, in conjunction with the center at Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park (BTNBBBR) and Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), recently shared positive news that will benefit the future of orangutan species. 

Two baby orangutans have been born in the park to two female orangutans that had undergone rehabilitation at the conservation center in Ketapang, West Borneo, managed by the IAR Indonesia team. The females were among 46 orangutans that have been released in the TNBBBR area since March 2016.

The first baby, a male, that was born to a female called Shila, was named Surya by Siti Nurbaya, the Minister of Environment and Forestry. Ten-year-old Shila was released in TNBBBR on June 9, 2017. She had been a victim of the illegal wildlife trade in West Borneo and spent more than two and a half years in rehabilitation before she was released.

Shila had been monitored continuously since she was released and was first seen with her new baby just days after he was born.

Then, on June 10th, 12-year-old female orangutan Desi, who had been released on November 26, 2016, was also spotted by the team with a very young baby. This baby, also a male, was named Dara by the Minister.

There are always vets on standby in the area and, together with the monitoring team, they observed the mothers and babies as closely as they could without causing them undue disturbance. It was confirmed that both mothers and babies were in good health and interacting well. The females were displaying great affection and strong maternal behavior towards their new babies.

The birth of the two baby orangutans is highly significant because it is proof of the success of the orangutan rehabilitation program. Through the process of rescue, rehabilitation, release, and monitoring, IAR Indonesia has enabled Shila and Desi not only to recover from their time in captivity and return to living freely in their natural habitat, but also to start creating a new generation of orangutans in locations where there were no orangutans previously.

“We believe that the birth of these babies is not the happy ending to the reintroduction program, it is the beginning. The beginning of the formation of generations of new wild orangutans in the area of Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park,” said Karmele L Sanchez, Director of the IAR Indonesia Program in a statement. “So far we have released 46 orangutans and the numbers will certainly continue to grow as more orangutans at our center complete their rehabilitation. We are delighted not only to be giving a second chance to orangutans that have been kept as pets, but also to be giving them the opportunity to become mothers. Mothers and infants can live freely in their natural habitat and thus also support and protect the ecology of the region.”

The Director General of the Conservation of Natural Resources and Ecosystems (KSDAE) of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Wiratno, said the involvement of the local community in these activities is expected to increase awareness and participation in preserving orangutans and their habitat in the National Park.

“We realize that conservation efforts cannot be done individually, we need to work hand in hand with local governments, other ministries and institutions, local communities, companies, and community institutions,” he added.

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