The rehabilitation process at Nyaru Menteng turns vulnerable, orphaned orangutans into wild, independent animals. The journey goes through the nursery, kindergarten and forest school. It ends in the island university, after which the orangutans are finally ready to return home to a life in freedom.
Human surrogate mothers
A baby orangutan needs care and contact as much as a human baby. If an orangutan hasn’t lived for a sufficient length of time with its mother in the wild, it must learn all the basics about living in the wild from humans. At Nyaru Menteng the orangutans get human surrogate mothers, and these babysitters give the orangutans love and teach them forest skills.
From hopeless to wild
The orangutans are often quite small and helpless when they move into the centre. They need human care because they lack their orangutan mother. During the rehabilitation period they become more and more wild and difficult to handle. If the orangutans eventually don’t want anything to do with their human caretakers, it is a success. They are just about ready for a life back in the rainforest.
In the nursery few orangutans live together, and they have close contact with their babysitters.
In the kindergarten the orangutans are allowed to face a few more orangutans, and teaching begins.
In Forest School the orangutans are encouraged to spend all day in the trees and to practise building nests and finding food.
When the orangutans are fully trained, they are sent to Island University. Here they live largely without humans.
Do you remember BBC's Orangutan Diary?
Here you will find some of the most popular scenes from the forest school of Nyaru Menteng.