Endangered orangutans get reintroduced into wild

The Sumatra orangutan is on the brink of extinction with only an estimated 6,000 in the wild, largely due to the animal's habitat shrinking by 70 percent over the past 50 years. But the disappearing rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia, isn't the only cause.

suri
Orangutan Suri; photo is a screen grab from video below

Despite laws against owning orangutans as pets, the practice still exists, exacting a toll on the adult population as parents are shot so babies can be taken and sold.

According to the Frankfurt Zoological Society, an estimated 200 to 400 orangutans are illegally held as pets on Sumatra. When the forest police discovers one, they seize the animal, which then needs to be taught how to live in its natural environment.

That's where the Sumatra Orangutan Conservation Project comes in.

A reintroduction center was established at the end of 2002 for confiscated orangutans, of which more than 150 have been successfully released into the wild.

A confiscated orangutan is quarantined for a month before being transferred to Bukit Tigapuluh National Park for Jungle School, where the animal is trained to find food and is reacquainted with the forest. When the time is right, the orangutan is set free. The latest GoPro HERO3+ Adventure Series details such a release. Watch as Suri begins her new life in the rainforest:

"Every individual counts at the moment," Peter Pratje of the Frankfurt Zoological Society said in the video.

Currently, the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Project is caring for and training 130 orangutans to be set free one day.

"We still have a long way ahead of us before we can finally put an end to orangutan trade and all confiscated orangs are given the chance to return to their natural surroundings," the Frankfurt Zoological Society website concludes.

It is a noble cause, without a doubt.

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