With the release of Ben, an important milestone was reached for Save the Orangutan and our partnerorganization BOS Foundation. Ben became orangutan number 500 who now roams free in the rainforest.

There comes a special time for orangutans in rehabilitation when they are to be transported to remote parts of the rainforest and start a new life in freedom.

Long journey to the wild

Each release is a proof that both Save the Orangutan and our partner BOS have made a good job. Last November it was time for Ben to make the long journey into the wild, and he became number 500 since 2012.

All these orangutans being re-introduced is an incredible achievement and milestone of dogged and determined effort to save the critically endangered orangutan and its habitat. This would not have be possible without our loyal donors. Thanks for all the support you give!

Emotional ending

Every time an orangutan is released, it is with mixed feelings. It is the end of many years of meaningful work, and the beginning of a new chapter for both the orangutan and the people who have attached themselves to it, and now must let go.

Ben had a slightly different story than the other orangutans at Nyaru Menteng. He was born at the center on May 20, 2010. Unfortunately, his mother Nanga was unable to care for him due to her traumatic past. Therefore, he moved into the baby house together with other orphans, where veterinarians and zookeepers took care of him.

A special orangutan

In that way he was special, and in a sense became “our” orangutan.

Ben had always found it easy to develop skills and a natural orangutan behavior. So, it was never a question of “if” but only of “when” he was ready to move home to the wild.

On November 18, 2022, Ben was finally released in Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park. It was a historic and moving moment. Just look here:

But what has happened to Ben since then? Well, recently the surveillance team at the park caught sight of him.

Appeared by a river

One early morning while patrolling along the Rangkong River, Ben appeared. Not far away they could see the nest he had built and slept in the night before.

Andri and Yardi from the surveillance team naturally took the opportunity to observe Ben and note his behavior. Ben rested on the branches of a kapok tree and ate leaves. Several times, however, he grunted disapprovingly of being watched.

Nest in a fig tree

During the time he was being observed, Ben moved from tree to tree while foraging and eating a lot of food. Apparently he had crossed the Rangkong River via the branches. A little later in the day, before it started raining, Ben had built a comfortable nest in the top of a fig tree. The team stopped following Ben when they were sure he had settled into his nest for the night.

The observation of Ben showed that he is in good health. His exploration of the forest and the way he forages clearly show that he has adapted well to his new environment since the release. Ben is a fine new addition to the wild tribe and hopefully he will soon make it grow even bigger!

Ben is now a part of the forest and the forest is a part of him.