The jungle school of the Sumatran orangutan conservation project prepares orangutans, who have been illegally held as pets for a self-sufficient life in the forest.
In the wild young orangutans are raised by their mothers for six to nine years before they are ready to survive on their own. Orangutans who have been illegally held as pets, though, have not had the chance to learn some essential skills. They have usually been captivated at a very young age, often in a brutal way as the mother has to be shot to get the baby.
An estimated five animals die for every orangutan sold – through inadequate conditions on the way out of the forest, in the hands of the middlemen or at the market before a buyer is found.
The Sumatra orangutan population has shrunk by 50% over the last 20 years. The rapidly declining number of individuals has been estimated at 6.600 in 2008. Apart from the reintroduced population in the Bukit Tigapuluh conservation area, all orangutans live in the north, in the Leuser ecosystem and the Batang Toru region. 75% of them live outside conservation areas and are particularly endangered as their habitat is being destroyed at a frightening pace. To make things worse, orangutans rely on lowland rainforest and need large areas to roam freely. Their very low reproduction rate makes orangutan populations extremely vulnerable.
We, the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS), cooperate with the Indonesian Department for Forestry and Nature Conservation (PHKA) and the Swiss PanEco foundation to run the reintroduction project for Sumatran orangutans in Bukit Tigapuluh. The project has been extended into a conservation programme for the ecosystem to preserve one of the last remaining and most biologically diverse areas of Sumatra (Bukit Tigapuluh Landscape Conservation Programme).
Six orangutans under four years of age are currently being prepared for a life in freedom at the jungle school. The training takes about four months, depending on the individual needs of the animals. We continue to monitor the orangutans after their release for several months to ensure that they are adapting well in the wild.
Please help us to secure training and maintenance of the young orangutans, who have often suffered physically during their illegal captivity. Any contribution is highly appreciated and will directly benefit the orangutans. Thank you very much!