Tree Monkey Project is on location to teach important technical tree climbing skills to the caretakers at the JeJak Pulang/Four Paws International Orangutan Forest School.
A year of planning and construction has now resulted in the new FOUR PAWS Orangutan Forest School in East Kalimantan, Indonesia, and the first school year will now begin. FOUR PAWS, the international animal welfare organization, with its U.S. headquarters in Boston, together with its local partner Jejak Pulang and the Indonesian government, have created the new rehabilitation project for orangutans in Borneo.
Eight orangutan orphans between the ages of eleven months and nine years will be the first students to attend the 250-acre Forest School run by FOUR PAWS’ experienced primatologist Dr. Signe Preuschoft. Dr. Preuschoft works with an Indonesian team of 15 animal caretakers, a biologist and two veterinarians who will care for the orangutans and prepare them for release back into the rainforest.
The rainforest has been destroyed on a massive scale in Borneo over the last four decades. At the same time, thousands of orangutans have become victims of the palm oil, tropical timber and coal industries. Every year, between 2,000 and 3,000 orangutans are killed because they are considered “harvest thieves” in palm oil plantations, but also for their meat. Helpless orphans whose mothers were deliberately killed end up as pets. As a result, the Bornean orangutans are among critically endangered species.
Rehabilitation in the Forest School curriculum matches natural child development. As babies, they first live in the loving care of their human surrogate mothers in the baby house and visit the kindergarten. From the age of two, the toddlers attend the Forest School. As their competence increases, the orangutans become more adventurous and independent. When they reach puberty, it is time for them to graduate to the so-called Forest Academy. The FOUR PAWS team decides on “graduation”, or time to release the young orangutan into the wild on a case by case basis.