Post Release Monitoring Project – Update

The ultimate goal of the rehabilitation process at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre is to produce young orangutans that are suitable for release back to the wild.  Sepilok have achieved this with our help, and together we have set up a Post Release Monitoring Project to track orangutans that have been released into the Tabin Reserve.

Since my last update, the team and I in Tabin have been continuing to collect behavioral data on the released orangutans. We now have literally thousands of hours of data for each animal! I'm really excited to see what the scientific data can tell us about how the orangutans have been progressing month-by-month. Unfortunately though, in order to see these results I have to put together a lot of complicated statistics on the data, looking for any trends and relationships. This is not a very pleasant task, as any biologist will tell you, but it will all be very worthwhile to be able to present our results to the world. It's really important at this stage to release more orangutans, not only to give them a chance at living free in the forest, but also to strengthen our data. At the moment it is difficult to draw definitive conclusions on the experiences of just three animals.

We are hoping to release another eight orangutans over the next year. Having released three males so far, we are very keen to also release some females to see how their behavior is different, and how their presence of being around Tabin may affect the others.

We are also planning to experiment with releasing older orangutans, and hope that their experience may rub-off on some of the younger ones who may need a little more guidance.