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It’s been one month since Alba, the world’s only known albino orangutan was released in the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park (TNBBBR), Katingan Regency, Central Kalimantan, and early signs say she is progressing well.

Based on the daily monitoring conducted by our experienced Post-Release Monitoring (PRM) team - who are accompanied a specially-appointed veterinarian from BOS Foundation’s Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre - Alba continues to adapt well to living independently in the forest. Since her release on 19th December 2018 we have observed Alba regularly foraging, feeding, and building both day and night nests. She has been actively travelling in the forest canopy and rarely climbing down to the forest floor, but occasionally climbs down to forage for plant shoots. These are all signs that her wild instincts are well-developed. Thankfully, we have not yet had to intervene, supplement, or assist her in any way.

Dr. Jamartin Sihite, BOS Foundation’s CEO said, "Our first month of post-release monitoring data suggests that Alba is healthy and adapting well to life in the forests of Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park. Alba's adaptability is impressive, but not entirely surprising. We estimate she had 4-5 years in the wild before we rescued her, and it looks like she is remembering her mother’s lessons well. Nonetheless, we will continue to monitor her closely. She’s foraging well, eating well, building nests, and socialising with other orangutans released in the National Park. She’s also travelled an impressive distance of 4 kilometers from the point where she was released!"

He goes on to say, "Our daily post-release monitoring of Alba takes place from sunrise to sunset, a process we call ‘nest-to-nest observations’. We plan to continue this process for the next five months, meaning that we will have data on Alba’s adaptability and progress for a full six months. After this extended intensive monitoring period, we will continue to monitor her according to our standard protocol for monitoring our other reintroduced orangutans, checking her radio-transmitter signal regularly and observing her periodically."

Dr. Sihite adds, "Given that the size of the area where Alba was released is 128,000 ha (316,295 acres), intensively monitoring her for long periods of time is quite difficult, but the collaborative monitoring and protection team of BOS Foundation and the TNBBBR Authority are confident about being able to provide the protection she needs. Of course, the long-term, sustainable, participatory management of the National Park will be key to the survival of Alba and the many other orangutans that have been released there."

Alba’s first month in TNBBBR was a social one, but she didn’t stay too long in the presence of any one individual orangutan. She was often seen with Kika, a 6-year-old female who was released with her, and Miri with Winda, both adult females released in 2016. We hope that spending time with these experienced adult orangutans will facilitate learning and strengthen her chances of long-term survival in the wild.

BOS Foundation will continue to collaborate and work hard with all relevant stakeholders - namely, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK), the Central Kalimantan BKSDA, the TNBBBR Authority, the Central Kalimantan Provincial Government, the Katingan District Government, and local communities - to monitor, protect, and support Alba as often as she needs.

Posted: 7th Jan 2019

About Us » News » BOS Global News » Alba's first month back in the forest!

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