Conservationists return three rescued orangutans to freedom in the rainforest
Conservationists return three rescued orangutans to freedom in the rainforest but warn of increasing threats to the species’ survival
Three orangutans have been rescued and released into a national park in West Kalimantan after being driven out of the forest by massive land clearance operations to make way for agricultural plantations. News of the orangutans’ translocation has been released with a strong message about increasing threats to the survival of the Critically Endangered species.
A team from International Animal Rescue (IAR) Indonesia joined with Gunung Palung National Park (GPNP) and members of the BKSDA (Conservation of Natural Resources) in West Kalimantan to release the three orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus.)
The orangutans were named Brown, Kokom, and Zola. Zola was rescued by IAR’s team and the local Forest Department on 30 January this year. Brown was rescued on 27 December 2016 from a village not far from IAR’s rescue centre in Sungai Awan, Ketapang and female Kokom was rescued on 30 November from a rubber plantation owned by residents in Sumber Priangan Village, Nanga Tayap District. She was found with a rope around her neck, suggesting she had been kept in captivity, perhaps as a pet, and then set free.
Zola was rescued from a pineapple plantation owned by residents in the village of Merbau, in Ketapang. The adult male weighing about 60 kg was captured by IAR’s team after damaging hundreds of the villagers’ pineapple plants. The pineapple orchard is adjacent to an area of land currently being cleared. Zola had apparently been driven out of his habitat by the land clearing activities and entered the pineapple plantation in search of food.
The three rescues indicate that the orangutans’ habitat is being increasingly squeezed by massive forest clearance for industrial-scale agricultural plantations.
Karmele Llano Sanchez, Programme Director of IAR Indonesia, said: “Orangutans are declining very fast and their forest is disappearin