International Animal Rescue

Orangutan rescue, rehabilitation and release - Ketapang, West Kalimantan, Indonesia

To build an orangutan rescue, rehabilitation and transitory centre in the region of Indonesian Borneo with the most critically threatened populations of orangutans. Providing veterinary treatment and both short and long-term rehabilitation for this highly endangered iconic species. To rescue illegally held captive orangutans enduring a squalid existence as pets. To rescue orangutans displaced due to loss of their rainforest home. Working with other conservation groups to identify safe and protected release sites.

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Registered Charity in England and Wales (1118277)




  • AnimalsAnimals
  • Environment/ConservationEnvironment/Conservation




Deforestation to make way for oilpalm plantations, leads to many primates being caught from the wild and sold on as pets: Orangutans, slow lorises, gibbons, leaf monkeys and several species of macaque are sold in large numbers in the illegal pet markets, despite the fact that many of them have protected status in Indonesia and are listed on Appendix I or II of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.) IAR’s existing primate rescue and rehab centre is located near, Bogor, Java and comprises a veterinary clinic, quarantine and socialisation enclosures, an education centre plus on site eco-cabins made from local materials to provide accommodation for volunteers and researchers. The centre is currently all that separates some highly endangered species from extinction. Such as; the slow loris, an Appendix 1 species now in the top 25 most endangered list. Lorises are openly traded on the roadside and in the notorious animal markets in Jakarta. Along with other primates often kept chained or caged in isolation, with considerable risk to humans from zoonotic diseases; including rabies and HIV/Aids. The IAR rescue centre was opened in early 2007 and under the management of IAR’s Veterinary Director and Primatologist ; Karmele Llano Sanchez employs 20 local people have successfully rescued, rehabilitated and release over 100 animals. The Forestry Department of Ketapang, West Kalimantan asked IAR Vet, Karmele to provide emergency veterinary care to some captive orangutans caught by plantation workers and sold to locals as pets. These animals endure terrible conditions: the IAR team found five adult orangutans chained up on pallets over open sewers, disease-ridden and starving, but with no one to give them suitable food and veterinary care. The need for an emergency rescue and rehabilitation facility for these orangutans is urgent and so desperate that it simply cannot be ignored. Not only is the population as a whole under threat, individual animals are suffering and dying at a terrifying rate because of the systematic devastation of the rainforest in Kalimantan. For these reason a centre capable of providing both short and long-term rehabilitation is now critical. IAR can offer vital experience and expertise in the rescue, rehabilitation and release of primates, based on our work in Java, where we have demonstrated that our team is skilled in the care and treatment of primates that have suffered extreme mental and physical trauma. We pride ourselves on building good relationships with local authorities and forestry departments and recognise the benefits of maintaining the good will and the support of local people wherever we are working. While we accept the immediate need for a new rescue facility in West Kalimantan to take in orangutans that are in urgent need of help, our long-term plan will be to acquire a sufficiently large area of protected forest to return these animals to the wild. Successful wildlife rescue and release is inextricably linked to habitat protection. Project Budget: Set-up: £131,500 Monthly running costs: Staff Vet / carers / food / veterinary equipment / fuel £7000 IAR has identified a 15 hectare site ideally located with access by sea and road, but also close to natural vegetation and forest. Land purchase - £70,000 Enclosures / quarantine and socialisation cages - £30,000 Fencing and other onsite building costs - £10,000 Rescue vehicle - 4x4 pick-up - £15,000 Dart gun and telemetry implants - £6,500