After cataract-removal surgery restored her sight, a rescued orangutan named Gober has been released into the wild with her twins. Gober was moved to the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme center in Medan, North Sumatra, after being found raiding a farmer’s crops. Her rescuers feared she would be killed, even though killing an orangutan is technically illegal in Indonesia. Orangutans in the area are under constant threat as their habitat is constantly destroyed in favor of new palm oil plantations.
Gober had cataracts removed from her eyes in 2012, but she did not like captivity and was introduced to a captive male to improve her spirit. He was also blind, after sustaining 62 shots from an air pellet gun. Gober conceived and delivered twins in 2011; very rare for orangutans, and unheard of from blind parents. Now, four years later, she has been released back into the wild.
Dr. Ian Singleton said on his blog, “Gober had never liked people, not surprising really knowing her history, and despite doing a great job rearing her infants she has never really thrived in captivity.” Gober was released into the Jantho forest in Aceh with her four-year-old twins Ganteng (the male) and Ginting (the female). Unfortunately, she left Ganteng behind and he spent his first night alone in the wild all cold and wet.
Singleton said the rescue center staff were stunned by how quickly Gober left her son behind. The staff had waited to release Gober into the wild until her children were old enough to fend for themselves with their mother as a mentor. Gober was, as Singleton’s blog reports, clearly eager to get moving into the forest, away from people and closer to food. She did make an effort to get Ganteng to follow her but perhaps was frustrated as he struggled.
Via The Guardian
Photos by Earth4Orangutans/Craig Jones