The ultimate goal of a rehabilitation centre is to reintroduce animals back into their natural environment.
Release sites are selected based on a number of factors, which include habitat suitability, food availability and connectivity. Sites should also be located within protected forest reserves, reducing the risk of habitat destruction and poaching.
Some sites are not accessible by road. One of our first projects in 2001, was the very first helicopter translocation of an orangutan in Borneo. We've continued to fund releases by helicopter where no other transport options are available.
In 2006, we constructed a research camp within Tabin Reserve, the largest wildlife reserve in Malaysia. It was here we carried out our pioneering Post-Release Monitoring Project, to release selected orangutans from Sepilok and then track and monitor their behaviours. This enabled us to evaluate the success of the rehabilitation programme and learn how orangutans adapt to their new life in the wild.
Most orangutans, who go through the rehabilitation programme at Sepilok, are released into the Sepilok-Kabili forest reserve, but we also use release sites in Tabin Reserve and Danum Valley.