Agustus 05, 2014

The Process for Releasing a Zoo-Bred Sumatran Orangutan Pongo Abellii at Bukit Tigapuluh National Park, Jambi, Sumatra


THIS PAPER describes the release of a 14 year old Perth Zoo female Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo abellii) into Bukit Tigapuluh National Park (BTP NP) in Jambi, Sumatra in November 2006. This site is run by the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) and Frankfurt Zoological Society (FSZ).

A population of ex-captive Sumatran orangutans is being established as the wild population was hunted to extinction in the 1800s. Almost 100 orangutans have been released as of August 2008. Orangutans are followed by trackers until they are assessed as being capable of surviving in the wild.

Temara was the first ever zoo bred orangutan to be released into the wild. This national park is protected by eight Wildlife Protection Units. Each unit consists of four men that patrol the park and report any illegal activities to the authorities.

Leif Cocks (Exotic Curator, Perth Zoo) and Kylie Bullo (Senior orangutan keeper, Perth Zoo), travelled with Temara to Jambi for her release. Kylie Bullo stayed for two months after Temara’s release and followed Temara every day with her trackers to record her behaviour and activity levels.

Temara is still being followed daily and her behaviour is recorded every two minutes. Perth Zoo Primate staff members have returned to BTP NP numerous times to assess Temara’s condition and observe her behaviour in the forest.

Although it will be some time before we can establish firm conclusions, the release of Temara, a captive-bred Sumatran orangutan from Perth Zoo into Bukit Tigapuluh National Park, has so far proven to be successful. Temara has exhibited numerous behaviours that indicate she will be able to survive successfully in the wild including:

- Excellent nest building skills.
- Travelling in the canopy, does not come down to the ground.
- The ability to forage for food.
- Refusing supplement food from her trackers during the fruiting season.
- Is of sound mental health and appears calm and confident in BTP NP.[]


Kylie Bullo, “The Process for Releasing a Zoo-Bred Sumatran Orangutan Pongo Abellii at Bukit Tigapuluh National Park, Jambi, Sumatra”, Australasian Primate Society 2008 Conference, Adelaide, October 4, 2008.

Program of the conference is available here.

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