A female orangutan named Susi has given birth to her first baby in the wild after being rescued from a life of captivity in chains. Susi was successfully rehabilitated and released in the Gunung Tarak protected forestwhich borders the Gunung Palung National Park (TANAGUPA). This is the second baby born to a rehabilitated orangutan in the protected forest. The new baby has been named “Sinar” by the Minister of the LHK (West Kalimantan Provincial Environment and Forest Service) in Indonesia.
The birth of the new baby was first discovered by a team from International Animal Rescue (IAR) Indonesiaand TANAGUPA who have been monitoring Susi’s progress in her natural habitat for the past four years. Based on the observations by veterinarians in the field, Sinar looks healthy and is feeding well from her affectionate and attentive mother.
Previously kept as a pet in Pontianak, Susi was rescued by the BKSDA (Natural Resources Conservation Centre) and IAR Indonesia on July 30, 2011. When rescued, Susi had a chain around her neck that caused an open, infected wound. Sadly, even after the chain was removed, rubber remainined embedded in the skin of her neck. After undergoing five years of rehabilitation at IAE’s Orangutan Conservation Center in Ketapang, Susi was released in the protected forest of Gunung TarakonMay 20, 2016.
“I will never forget when we had to remove the chains from Susi’s neck. We were so very sad to see the state she was in. Now, it is very encouraging to see orangutans who used to live in confinement and suffering being able to live freely and even breeding in their natural habitat,” said Dr. Karmele L Sanchez, IAR Indonesia Program Director in a statement. “During her treatment and rehabilitation, Susi’s condition improved, not only physically but also mentally. Susi has also proved that she can adapt and become a true wild orangutan in her new home in Gunung Tarak.”
“The successful release of orangutans after rehabilitation proves the strength of cooperation between stakeholders of orangutan conservation in West Kalimantan, the Central Government, the Provincial Government of West Kalimantan, and the community, as well as the NGOs,” said Ir Wiratno, Director General of the KSDAE. “Orangutans are an ‘umbrella’ species, they play an important part in protecting an ecosystem due to their wide range and positive impact on their local habitat by spreading seeds into forest areas. Not only that, the community around the rehabilitation site has also been heavily involved in this activity; from caring for and releasing wildlife, to monitoring them once they are back in their natural habitat.”
“The birth of this baby, the second to be born to a female orangutan rehabilitated at IAR’s center, is a testament to the success of our rehabilitation and release program,” said Alan Knight, OBE, Chief Executive of International Animal Rescue.
“Susi spent years in captivity – and yet she is thriving in her natural habitat and has produced a baby of her own. The Bornean orangutan is Critically Endangered and so new arrivals like Sinar, and Tarak before her, bring hope for the future and the survival of the species as a whole,” continued Knight.
Ir H Adi Yani, Head of the Environment and Forestry Service in West Kalimantan said that the provincial government adopted an important policy related to saving protected habitats and corridors for animals by establishing the Gunung Tarak protected forest as an Essential Ecosystem Area.
“The protected forest of Gunung Tarak is a buffer zone of Gunung Palung National Park which is a large area where orangutan species live,” explained Yani. He added that by preserving the ecosystem of protected animals, the existing natural balance will be maintained and will eventually have a positive impact on the quality of life of the community at large.
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