Mission Freedom


In February, a group of orangutans from Nyaru Menteng were transported by car and boat through a rough terrain to their new home in the rainforest.

It is a two-day journey between Nyaru Menteng and the forest area Bukit Batikap, Bukit Batikap where the center’s orangutans are released. It is quite difficult to access Bukit Batikap. The remote location is an advantage when you want to give orangutans a new home where they will be left alone. But it is challenging to move them there.

First time by car and boat

The Rehabilitation Center Nyaru Menteng is a groundbreaking initiative. It is the Maha first time in history that such a large release program is being carried out. This also means that the process is constantly developing. In connection with the nine previous releases, the orangutans were transported by plane and helicopter to the forest area. But in the tenth round, five orangutans were transported by car and boat for the first time.

Maha was the first one

Last winter, five orangutans were selected for release. In order to be sure that the new transport method would work as planned, the center started by transporting Preparing the cases just one the orangutans, the 10 year old male orangutan Maha. Maha was fine during the entire trip and immediately settled into his new tropical rainforest home. Based on this success, the center could continue the process.

Cages with leaves and snacks

On 24th of February the four remaining orangutans, Mentos, Jatihan, Dewi and Compost, began their journey to Bukit Batikap. The orangutans were given something to help them sleep, and their cages were filled with leaves and snacks, so the journey was as comfortable as possible. A veterinarian checked on them once an hour. Four SUVs adorned with Indonesian flags drove for Travellig by boat eleven hours to reach the city Puruk Cahu.

Boat, car and boat again

After reaching Puruk Cahu the trip continued by boat, followed by a car ride to a camp where both orangutans and humans could rest for the night. Next morning, it was time for yet another boat trip. The orangutans and release team went on a four-hour trip upstream on Joloi River through the rainforest to the camp where the center's staff lives. The camp, Totat Jalu, is home to 14 employees who keep an eye on how the released orangutans are doing.

Rest in acclimatization cages

Acclimatization cages The team arrived at Totat Jalu around noon on 26 February. The orangutans were quickly moved from the transport cages to acclimatization cages. Everybody was doing well. In the acclimatization cages the orangutans could rest after the long journey and gather strength for the actual release. The veterinarians watched the orangutans throughout the following day, and it was decided that they were going to be released the morning after.

The actual release

On the morning of the 28th of February, the actual release took place. The Release orangutans were led by a small longboat to their individual release spots, located 20-30 meters apart. Both Mentos, Dewi, Jatihan and Compost did not hold back but quickly disappeared into the trees. After having been taken care of by humans for the majority of their lives, they are now finally back in the wild where they belong.

Read more about Maha, Mentos, Dewi, Compost and Jatihan >>

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