In Indonesia, a Jungle School helps rescued Orangutans to return to the Wild

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature - which changed the species' threat level to critical - estimates a mere 47,000 will be left in the wild by 2025

Orangutan. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

September 5, 2016: There is an amazing jungle school in the heart of Borneo Islands that is designed specifically for the young rescued Orangutans. Some of them found wandering and suffering alone, as the fire rages huge parts of the rainforest in Borneo.

These young orphan Orangutans got to school to learn to feed themselves and avoid the predators. They are taught in the wildlife so they return to their world with no harm and with preparation. As life in the real world was drastic for these lovely creatures. Only a few years ago, the Bornean Orangutans were declared as critically endangered species and they are close to extinction.

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Experts say that the wonderful tree-dwelling Orangutans would do wonders in the wildlife and cross the Borneo without even touching the ground. But now the same Orangutans could get entirely vanished from the island within 50 years, as the ancient rainforest they have inhabited for centuries are felled and burned at alarming speed leaving serious danger for the inhabiting Orangutans.

Dr. Ayu Budi, a veterinarian is the head of the orangutan health clinic at the International animal rescue centre in the west Kalimantan province. She has something to say- “It’s heart-breaking,” she said , adding “when you see them, it’s really sad. They are supposed to be with their mother in the wild, living happily, but they are here.”

Exactly 101 Orangutans are nurtured under Dr. Budi’s care, including the 16 playful infants – are the lucky ones as they were rescued near death. In this beautiful niche of protected forest in the city of Ketapang, the young orangutans are nurtured back to life and health.

Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of their kin have died in the past four decades across Borneo, slaughtered by hunters, burned in land-blazing fires or put to death by habitat loss.

The result has been wild orangutan populations in freefall. In the mid-1970s, nearly 300,000 of these great apes roamed Borneo. Today, just a third of that number remain.

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The International Union for the Conservation of Nature – which changed the species’ threat level to critical – estimates a mere 47,000 will be left in the wild by 2025.

The fire often gets out of hand, tearing through the forest, and smouldering relentlessly on Borneo’s compact, carbon-rich peatlands. Last year’s blazes in 2015, were among the worst on record.

Conservationists fear a repeat disaster of that scale would ring the death knell for the Bornean orangutan.

Budi and her colleagues remain optimistic, teaching orangutans like Jack – a mischievous, attention-seeking seven-year-old – to forage by hiding peanuts and honey inside plastic balls high in the treetops.

But she frets her young charge will never get the chance to prove his independence in the wild, as Borneo’s lowland forests shrink ever smaller. “I think they still have a chance, but if the forest is gone, it will be difficult,” she said.

– by Jagpreet Kaur Sandhu of NewsGram