Happily ever after is possible

April 11 2016

World Animal Protection’s Georgina Parker recently returned from Borneo – and she’s got good news to share.

Georgina travelled to Kalimantan, Indonesia, to get an update on a crucial program to give a safe, new home to orangutans, some of whom suffered horrific abuse in the name of entertainment. It’s run by our partners in Indonesia, the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF), and it’s one of the wonderful programs supported by people like you.

BOSF has saved hundreds upon hundreds of orangutans from the cruel entertainment industry and other dangers, such as forest fires or forest clearing for palm oil plantations. And they have had great success in teaching orangutans to live in their natural habitat.

“I’ll never forget the moment we first saw rehabilitated orangutans enjoying their freedom. We trekked for a whole day through dense jungle – suddenly we spotted two orange dots in the lush rainforest, about eighty feet above us…they were orangutans swinging and playing happily in the trees,” Georgina beamed upon her return.

“These orangutans would have suffered so much in captivity before being rescued by BOSF, so to see them back in the forest, rediscovering themselves was very moving. And it gave me such hope knowing that they had been rescued, rehabilitated and released back into the wild, where they can be happy, healthy and totally and utterly free – like all animals should be,” said Georgina.

Orangutans who are forced to perform in entertainment are usually poached from the wild as babies, when they are “cute” and nonthreatening. So even when they’re rescued, this means that they have missed out on learning the skills they need to live in the wild. And there is a lot to learn. In the wild, orangutans stay with their mothers for up to seven years before they embark on an independent life in the forest.

At forest school, BOSF vets and nurses teach orangutans important skills, like what they should and shouldn’t eat (orangutan diets are very complex!) and how to swing from branches and climb trees.

Dressed in shorts and boxing gloves, orangutans are forced to fight each other in pretend boxing matches as an attraction spectacle for visitors. Next, read about the cruelty behind orangutan boxing.

Keke, the blind orangutan

Keke was blind in both eyes when she arrived at BOSF’s sanctuary – likely as a result of mistreatment in captivity. When she arrived at BOSF in 2002, the staff wanted to give Keke every opportunity to be a happy normal orangutan and put her into forest school so that she could re-learn her natural behaviours.

Keke is incredibly clever and confident, and her disability doesn’t stop her from being cheeky! She is constantly trying to break out of her socialization enclosure to go explore and play.

“Keke is a very independent soul with impressive navigation skills who always knows how to find her way back to her enclosure.

“She once snuck out at night and made her way from one part of the sanctuary to another, which was a huge distance for a blind orangutan to cover!” says Georgina. Keke has graduated from forest school level 2; out of three levels orangutans have to pass to be able to be released into the wild again. Because of her blindness, returning to the wild is not an option for Keke.

A sanctuary for traumatized orangutans

Thanks to people like you, orangutans like Keke will soon have a safe, new long-term home – in the forest, where they belong.

World Animal Protection and BOSF are working to secure an amazing natural home for orangutans who are too traumatized to be returned to the wild.

With the support of generous people like you, World Animal Protection and BOSF are creating a sanctuary especially for old, sick or disabled orangutans like Keke – deep in Borneo’s rainforest.

The sanctuary is on a river island called Badak Kecil, which is covered in tall and luscious trees – just like the forest from which these beautiful orangutans were brutally taken. Most of the types of fruit that orangutans eat are available in abundance… it’s absolutely perfect. Thanks to you, orangutans who will be relocated to Badak Kecil will have all the care, comfort and love they need.

Your generosity means that orangutans who’ve suffered cruel abuse in the name of entertainment have a chance to live happily ever after.

Your loyal support is helping to:

  • build a forest sanctuary for orangutans who are too sick, traumatized or disabled to be released into the wild;
  • keep orangutans healthy by paying for vital health checks, vitamins and minerals;
  • keep orangutans safe from poachers by hiring security guards;
  • ensure that orangutans are well fed and cared for by covering the cost of qualified staff;
  • raise awareness of the immense cruelty involved in the animal entertainment industry;
  • end the use of wild animals in entertainment.

Want to do more? Become an Animal Protector.

Join an incredible group of people who make it possible for us to protect animals around the world, including orangutans, from a lifetime of suffering. Be an Animal Protector

 

"It gave me such hope knowing that they had been rescued, rehabilitated and released back into the wild, where they can be happy, healthy and totally and utterly free – like all animals should be.”

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