Rescue case: Hercules

Arrival at Nyaru Menteng: 28 September 2002
Age at arrival:
12 years old
Rescued from:
12 years in captivity
Not possible

Hercules is a sad example of an orangutan that will never again have a life in the wild after an unfortunate encounter with humans. The only thing left to do is to secure him a fair dignity at the rehabilitation centre Nyaru Menteng.


Crippled and blind

Hercules was rescued from captivity with a citizen of Jakarta on the island of Java. He was 12 years old and had lived too long in a cage in which he hadn’t been able to move. He was weak and malnourished, blind in one eye and unable to use his hands or feet due to the many years without free movement.


Hercules was brought to Nyaru Menteng, but because of his crippled hands and feet, he couldn’t go through an ordinary rehabilitation process. Hercules’ eyes are being watched, and his hands and feet are being treated in the hope that one day his situation can be improved.

Holiday visitor on protected island

At the centre, Hercules must live in a cage because the adult orangutan, after all, is a wild animal. Although the cage is big, it is not a satisfying life. In the summer, during dry season, Hercules therefore goes on holiday on one of the centre’s protected islands to the extent that it is deemed safe. He gets fed every day and has all the space he can dream of. In winter, when it’s the rainy season, he returns to his cage because the island gets flooded.

Dependent on climbing ability

Orangutans are completely dependent on their ability to climb trees in order to survive in the wild. Hercules will never do so. Because of his sad history, he must settle for a summer holiday now and then, and as his condition continuously worsens, it isn’t even sure that those trips can continue.