After being rescued, they were placed in the care of The Khao Prathubchange Wildlife Rescue Centre (KPRC) for the duration of a legal battle against the wildlife traders and, in December 2020, four years after this tragic ordeal commenced, they were repatriated to Indonesia to take the next steps in their journey – the rehabilitation and wild reintroduction program operated by the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) at Bukit Tigapuluh, Sumatra.
Since 2006, thanks to community donations, Perth Zoo has helped get the lives of orangutans, just like Natalee and Un Aing back on track! Our partnership with FZS helps gives ex-pet and illegally trafficked orangutans a chance at living a wild life in Bukit Tigapuluh, a protected ecosystem in Indonesia.
When Natalee and Un Aing arrived at Bukit Tigapuluh they entered quarantine, where the zoologists and veterinary team could regularly check on them and monitor their health. The new diet of fresh forest fruits was a bit challenging for Natalee and Un Aing to adapt to at first, since they had been frequently fed a diet of rice during their captivity – an unnatural food source for these Great Apes.To avoid malnutrition, the zoologists and veterinary team fed them with 2.2kg of food spread over five feeding sessions, making sure to include a variety of tasty foods such as fruits, eggs, vegetables, honey and vitamins.
An important part of the reintroduction program in Bukit Tigapuluh is the Jungle School, where ex-pet and orphaned Sumatran Orangutans learn the vital skills they need for life in the wild. Natalee and Ung Aing will begin Jungle School soon, where they will have lessons on:
- Finding food and water
- Staying in the trees where it’s safe
- Knowing your neighbourhood
- How to get along with other orangutans, and
- Making a nest to sleep in
Natalee and Un Aing still have a long way to go in their journey to a life in the wild, but we’re excited and hopeful that these two survivors will soon be swinging high amongst the trees in their new home.
If you’d like to help Natalee and Un Aing and many other orangutans just like them, please consider donating to our Wildlife Conservation Action Fund here