Releasing Pet Orangutans From Bondage
Orangutan hand out of cage with severed finger.See more photos.
Since writing last, we have been on a whirlwind trip around central Borneo. I am continually
amazed at how dedicated and skilled the BOS rescue team is and feel so privileged to see first
hand all that they do here on a daily basis. In one of my first posts I mentioned arriving at
the rescue center in Nyaru Menteng for my first meeting with Pak Hardi to discuss our itinerary
for our visit. At this point, I can’t even remember what that itinerary was!
Since arriving, the BOS rescue center has been inundated with phone calls; orangutans in the
palm oil plantations that may need rescuing, a juvenile orangutan in a local village that needs
to be confiscatedp; in addition to the orangutans that need to be relocated from burning
forests to designated release areas. Given their dedication, the rescue team will drop
everything to get there and help. Additionally, they have developed an education program that
allows them to leave informative materials with individuals that capture orangutans, whatever
the reason maybe.
Yesterday, midway between the release camp and the rehab center, we arrived at a house where a
juvenile orangutan was being kept as a pet. There was an audience of maybe 30 children when we
arrived, in addition to many adults. When the rescue team arrived, it was obvious that most
everyone innocently didn’t realize that keeping an orangutan as a pet was dangerous, illegal,
or compromising the health of the animal. With help from the local government and while
providing educational materials (posters, stickers, t-shirts, etc.), the juvenile orangutan was
released into safe hands. The only challenge that remained was the rocky 6 hour car ride back
to the rescue center!
We are now 10 days into our trip here and have yet to see a good 20 minutes of sunshine. It’s
unbelievable. I text messaged a friend of mine in Medan, Indonesia (Sumatra island) this
afternoon and she said the same, the smoke is becoming unbearable. For about 5 minutes today we
thought it would rain, but smoke soon followed. And with every trip we take we pass more and