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The proud ‘foster mother’ orangutan starts a new life in the wild with her adopted orphan

I’m your mom now! Proud ‘foster mother’ orangutan starts a new life in the wild with her adopted orphaned child after being released and coupled in captivity in Indonesia

  • Monti, 12, and Anggun, three, were released into the jungle of Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park in West Borneo
  • They were brought together in the International Animal Rescue center last year after being rescued
  • Monti was found in a village in Ketapang in 2009 and was linked to Angunn after an orphan arrived in 2018
  • Couple was taught at the forest school of the center to re-learn the natural behavior of climbing and searching for food

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A proud “foster mother” orangutan has begun a new life in the wild with her adopted orphaned child after being released into captivity in Indonesia.

Monti, 12, and Anggun, three, were released earlier this month in the jungle of Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park in West Borneo.

Monti was found in a village in Ketapang in 2009 and became a foster mother of Anggun in an International Animal Rescue orangutan center in the same region after the orphan arrived there in 2018.

The duo was encouraged in the ‘forest school’ of the rehabilitation center, so that Anggun can re-learn the natural behavior of climbing, searching for food and making nests that are essential for forest survival.

Monti, a 12-year-old woman, and three-year-old baby Anggun, both rescued from human captivity, were released earlier this month in the jungle of Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park in West Borneo

Monti, a 12-year-old woman, and three-year-old baby Anggun, both rescued from human captivity, were released earlier this month in the jungle of Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park in West Borneo

Mother and child prior to their release

Mother and child prior to their release

Mother Monti tells Anggun a tree in the jungle

Mother Monti tells Anggun a tree in the jungle

Monti was found in a village in Ketapang in 2009 and became the foster mother of Anggun in an International Animal Rescue orangutan center in the same region after the orphan arrived there in 2018

Rescuers of animals in the jungle of West Borneo release the mother and baby in the wild earlier this month

Rescuers of animals in the jungle of West Borneo release the mother and baby in the wild earlier this month

Rescuers of animals in the jungle of West Borneo release the mother and baby in the wild earlier this month

Three-year-old orangutan Anggun hangs on branches after being rescued by saviors earlier this month

Three-year-old orangutan Anggun hangs on branches after being rescued by saviors earlier this month

Three-year-old orangutan Anggun hangs on branches after being rescued by saviors earlier this month

Experts hoped that maternal primate Monti, who had mastered these skills in the center after 10 years, would teach Anggun what she knew – with the couple who developed an extremely close bond.

The adoption of orphan monkeys is well documented in the wild, especially among chimpanzees.

Karmele L Sanchez, program director of IAR Indonesia, said: “It was hoped that Monti Anggun would learn the necessary skills to survive in her natural habitat, while also protecting and feeding her.

“The strategy was very successful – Monti became more maternal and Anggun gained confidence in learning new things.

In the wild, baby orangutans stay with their mothers until they are between six and eight years old, so it is hoped that the bonded couple will embrace their new life in the jungle together

In the wild, baby orangutans stay with their mothers until they are between six and eight years old, so it is hoped that the bonded couple will embrace their new life in the jungle together

In the wild, baby orangutans stay with their mothers until they are between six and eight years old, so it is hoped that the bonded couple will continue to embrace their new life in the jungle together

Monti in the wild. Orangutan babies are highly dependent on their mothers and cannot climb without them until they are about two years old

Monti in the wild. Orangutan babies are highly dependent on their mothers and cannot climb without them until they are about two years old

Monti in the wild. Orangutan babies are highly dependent on their mothers and cannot climb without them until they are about two years old

12-year-old Monti and orphaned three-year-old Anggun after being paired

12-year-old Monti and orphaned three-year-old Anggun after being paired

Monti and Anggun together in the wild

Monti and Anggun together in the wild

The couple together for their release (left) and earlier this month they clamber into a tree in the jungle of West Borneo

Members of International Animal Rescue load the orangutans on river boats while they take the monkeys deep into the jungle for their release into the wild

Members of International Animal Rescue load the orangutans on river boats while they take the monkeys deep into the jungle for their release into the wild

Members of International Animal Rescue load the orangutans on river boats while they take the monkeys deep into the jungle for their release into the wild

“This proves that even if orangutans like Monti lose their mothers at a very young age, they are still able to be good mothers, not only with their own children, but also with other baby orangutans.”

In the wild, baby orangutans stay with their mothers until they are between six and eight years old, so it is hoped that the bonded couple will embrace their new life in the jungle together.

Animal volunteers traveled for three days to the release point in the heart of the national park – transporting the orangutans on a 434-mile road trip followed by a one-hour boat trip and finally a five and a half mile walk.

The orangutans ahead of their release

The orangutans ahead of their release

The orangutan mother and adopted baby

The orangutan mother and adopted baby

The mother of the orangutan and her adopted child before their release into the jungle – the mother has lived in captivity for most of her adult life

The monkeys are in their cage for release into the wild

The monkeys are in their cage for release into the wild

The monkeys are in their cage for release into the wild

The monkeys chow down on some leaves for their release into the wild on the Indonesian island of Borneo earlier this month

The monkeys chow down on some leaves for their release into the wild on the Indonesian island of Borneo earlier this month

The monkeys chow down on some leaves for their release into the wild on the Indonesian island of Borneo earlier this month

Members of International Animal Rescue traveled through dense forest to release Monti and Anggun back into the wild

Members of International Animal Rescue traveled through dense forest to release Monti and Anggun back into the wild

Members of International Animal Rescue traveled through dense forest to release Monti and Anggun back into the wild

Members of International Animal Rescue traveled through dense forest to release Monti and Anggun back into the wild

Members of International Animal Rescue traveled through dense forest to release Monti and Anggun back into the wild

Members of International Animal Rescue traveled through dense forest to release Monti and Anggun back into the wild

The animal rescuers carry the cage of the monkeys with a long strip of bamboo

The animal rescuers carry the cage of the monkeys with a long strip of bamboo

The animal rescuers carry the cage of the monkeys with a long strip of bamboo

Members of International Animal Rescue cross a footbridge during their trek through the dense jungle to bring the monkeys to their natural habitat

Members of International Animal Rescue cross a footbridge during their trek through the dense jungle to bring the monkeys to their natural habitat

Members of International Animal Rescue cross a footbridge during their trek through the dense jungle to bring the monkeys to their natural habitat

Three other rehabilitated orangutans from the center, named Merah, Ujang and Utat, were also released on the same day.

A team will now follow the behavior of all newly released animals to ensure that they adapt to their new environment.

Agung Nugroho, head of Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park, said: “Hopefully the released orangutans can form a new population and help preserve the species.”

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