Tuesday, October 16, 2012

First orangutans released into Borneo wild

WHEN Tarzan sat motionless in the same Bornean tree for seven days after being released from captivity, experts were concerned he was incapable of returning to the forest.

But with the rehabilitated orangutan now happily settled into the wild, his carers reckon he was just waiting for someone to hand him a banana.

Tarzan is one of 29 rehabilitated orangutans who graduated this year from the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOS), where they learned life skills including climbing, nest-building, sourcing food and identifying threats.

They are the first group to be released back into the wild by the foundation, which has rescued hundreds of orangutans since it was created in 1999 to protect the endangered species from hunting, logging and deforestation in Borneo.

BOS senior scientific adviser, Simon Husson, in Australia to deliver a series of lectures about the foundation's work, describes this year's reintroduction program as a "joyous occasion".

"When you actually open the cage you know that if we get it right and the orangutan gets it right they'll never have to spend another night behind bars again," Mr Husson told AAP on Tuesday.

"I just find that a really happy feeling."

Each of the orangutans released into the wild is fitted with radio transmitting implants which allow BOS to track them and make sure they stay healthy.

Twenty more orangutans are scheduled for release before the end of the year, with another 100 expected to be ready in 2013.

Mr Husson said the ongoing release program would free up much needed space in the foundation's centre in Borneo.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: First orangutans released into Borneo wild