In the last few months alone, no less than four orphaned orangutans have been rescued and brought to the two rehabilitation centres in Borneo supported by Save the Orangutan.

Weakened, dehydrated, severely malnourished, and skin abrasions all over.

Four orphaned orangutans were in a terrible condition when they were rescued and brought to our local partner’s rehabilitation centres. Four rescues in just two months.

The orangutans now stay at the two rehabilitation centres Nyaru Menteng in Central Kalimantan and Samboja Lestari in East Kalimantan. They are cared for and treated by Save the Orangutan’s partner BOS Foundation.

The fate of the four orphaned orangutans underlines the threats and challenges deforestation in Borneo bears with it.

Nyaru Menteng has taken in three of the infant orangutans

On the 22nd of June, a female orangutan just six months old were brought to the centre in Central Kalimantan. She weighed no more than 2.6 kg. The small orangutan was found in a village and was handed over to the Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA).

Besides being weakened and dehydrated, the orangutan was covered with scratches and tree sap. It is therefore likely she was taken from her natural habitat in the rainforest very recently.

Less than a week later, another six-month-old orangutan arrived at the centre. This time it was a male orangutan rescued by the BKSDA in a village where he was kept as a pet for several days. The small orangutan was in terrible condition, he was severely dehydrated and had a swollen toe.

The first of the three orphaned orangutans to arrive at Nyaru Menteng arrived on the 6th of May. An 18-month-old male, weighing only 2.5 kg.

The orangutan was handed over by a local villager from the Seruyan Regency. He said a relative from a neighbouring village had given him the orangutan. The relative had allegedly found the infant alone, separated from its mother.

After the infant’s arrival at the centre, the staff soon found he was very weak, dehydrated and severely malnourished. His body was also covered with skin abrasions.

Progress and improvements

Thanks to expert care and treatment by the veterinarians at Nyaru Menteng, the three small orangutans are recovering. They are still weakened and spend most of their time resting in a hammock. But their appetite is improving and they eat all fruit they are given.

Overall, they are getting used to their new surroundings. Two of them are now able to reach for leaves to pick and taste on their own. Slowly but surely, they begin to crawl out of their hammock.

The three orangutans still receive treatment and are tested in the quarantine unit by the house in which the youngest orangutans stay. The veterinarians need to make sure the orangutans are healthy enough to join the group of the youngest orangutans at Nyaru Menteng.

Chained to a tree – now safe at Samboja Lestari

The fourth orangutan that was rescued this time round is a three-year-old female.

She was rescued by the BKSDA in East Kalimantan from a farmer claiming to have found her wandering alone near his fields.

She was kept as a pet for almost two years and was chained to a tree outside the farmer’s home. Her food mostly consisted of rice and coffee, and only rarely did she get any of the foods and nutrients vital to a small orangutan, namely milk and fruits.

Fortunately, the first check-up upon her arrival at the rehabilitation centre proved that she was in relatively good health. She also showed some natural behaviour.

The orangutan, who is recovering well, is currently in the quarantine unit by the clinic at Samboja Lestari while awaiting the results of her examinations.