Animal advocates are celebrating the successful rescue, rehabilitation and release of two critically endangered Bornean orangutans who had spent their lives in cages as pets.
The two orangutans, eight-year-old Johnny, and 10-year-old Desi, had spent their lives in confinement as pets before being rescued by a team from International Animal Rescue (IAR) in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
The two have spent the last few years at IAR’s Orangutan Conservation Centre in Ketapang where they went to “forest school” to learn all the skills they would need to survive in the wild, ranging from climbing and foraging to making their own nests.
“The rehabilitation process is a long one. It can take seven or eight years,” said Karmele Llano Sanchez, IAR’s program director in Indonesia. “Being kept as pets for several years can have a very adverse effect on the orangutans’ mental and physical health.”
Once they mastered those skills, they were moved to a pre-release island where they were monitored and assessed to see if they would be good candidates for release.
Finally, they began the long…