The orangutans spend the last years of their rehabilitation process at the protected Island University. When it is their turn to be released, they are sedated and sailed back to the centre. Here they are quarantined for 60 days. In that way, the centre’s vets can be sure that the orangutans aren’t sick when they are released.
DNA tests and radio transmitters
During the time the orangutans are in quarantine, their DNA is tested. The test reveals which subspecies they belong to, and hence in which part of Borneo they must be released. They are also implanted with a small radio transmitter so that the centre can follow them the first years in the forest.
Paired according to temperament
The orangutans are released in groups of 15-20 individuals. The groups are put together with an eye for the orangutans’ temperament. There cannot be two dominant males in the same group, nor two that may prove vulnerable and require extra monitoring. The very dominant orangutans have had to wait a bit to get released because the less dominant should have a head start in the new habitat.
So far, 136 orangutans have been reintroduced to the wild in Bukit, and we know of two births in the area.