SOC Prepares to release orangutansThis week become a special day for Gagas and Oscar. Both of orangutans that spent most of their life in Sintang Orangutan Center after, will be open a new chapter in their life. They will be released into the wild. This is the fourth release efforts after SOC team succeed in releasing orangutan at Betung Kerihun National Park, West Kalimantan. The team hopes that this release will increase orangutan population in this area and reinforce the release site. So far, the team has released 6 orangutans at Mendalam sub-watershed in Betung Kerihun National Park, West Kalimantan. However, this time, the team chooses to remove the release site, from Rongun estuary into more upstream location. This change based on the evaluation on orangutan moving pattern observation result. The more distant location also to anticipate orangutan to contact with human since rehabilitated orangutans tend to approach human. The more distant and remote location will be reduce the chance to contact with humans. Also, this new location is more accessible for researchers.
For the candidates, two teenage orangutans, Gagas 7 years 1 month old and Oscar 6 year 7 months old, have already evaluated for 2 months in quarantine site, both medical and behavior, to isolate them from disease transmission. Oscar has found by villager in Danau Sentarum National Park and kept as pets for 1.5 years. Knowing about conservation status of orangutan as endangered species, the owner decided to hand over him to national park officer. The officer then transferred him to SOC. Oscar has recognized 60 species of edible plants including fruit, leaf, shoot and insect. He is able to build nest. He also reconstruct used nest by adding leaves. He tends to choose middle canopy to build nest.
Gagas has rescued by West Kalimantan BKSDA (Nature Conservation Agency) when he was 1.8 years old. He brought to SOC in 2015 by BKSDA rescue team. Now, Gagas has recognized 38 species of plants and ants. He is rather picky in looking for food. Gagas and Oscar will spend hours trip from Sintang Orangutan Center Office at Sintang to their release location. They will be release at July, 18, 2019 from Mentibat research station.
Oscar and Gagas/ Photo by SOC team.