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Not all the rescued orphaned and displaced orangutans can be reintroduced to the rainforest. Some of the rescued orangutans have been injured so badly or have been traumatised too severely by life in captivity that they will never be able to survive in the wild. Others might have been diagnosed with diseases that make their reintroduction to the rainforest impossible in respect of the other orangutans.

Save the Orangutan works to ensure a free life for all orangutans – including those who cannot be reintroduced to the wild despite completing their rehabilitation processes.

Depending on each orangutan’s conditions and development, every orangutan is provided with the best conditions possible at the rehabilitation centres. The goal is for all orangutans to live a free life in as natural surroundings as possible.

At the Nyaru Menteng and Samboja Lestari rehabilitation centres, permanent sanctuaries are being established on rainforest islands for all those orangutans who cannot be released. This allows the un-releasable orangutans to live a life true to nature while receiving the treatment and care they need.

Video: Watch Romeo being freed on his new island near Samboja Lestari

Not all orangutans can return to their home

Although the purpose of rescuing and rehabilitating orangutans is to reintroduce them to the rainforest, some orangutans will unfortunately never be able to survive on their own in the wild.

Several factors may make an orangutan un-releasable, including injuries sustained prior to its arrival at the rehabilitation centre, skills it has not been able to acquire during its rehabilitation, diseases, or behavioural problems demonstrated throughout the rehabilitation process. BOS Foundation operates with five categories of ‘un-releasables’ (orangutans that justifiably cannot be reintroduced to the wild).

The un-releasable orangutans are currently caged at the centres while awaiting their fate. An orangutan lives for more than 50 years, and they deserve a good life no matter the circumstances. Just because some orangutans are more unlucky than others does not mean those orangutans do not deserve the best care and future possible.

The island in the centre of the image is a great example of what a rainforest island might look like. The image shows the island Badak Kecil, a part of Salat Island, which is the newest sanctuary managed by BOS Foundation.

All orangutans deserve a life in freedom

Since 2017, Save the Orangutan and our partners have made it a priority to free all caged orangutans at BOS Foundation’s rehabilitation centres and to remove all cages at the centres. Moreover, we have focused on releasing all un-releasable orangutans onto sanctuary islands. The first phase of this extensive goal is to obtain access rights to land that will become sanctuaries for the un-releasable and caged orangutans.

We have already obtained access rights to the first 15 hectares of land with the help from private donors and BOS Germany. However, we need to obtain access rights to even more land and prepare the first 15 hectares to facilitate the orangutans who can finally be freed. At the Samboja Lestari rehabilitation centre, sanctuary islands for un-releasable orangutans  have already been established and tested. Badak Kecil is the first of its kind in Central Kalimantan near Nyaru Menteng.