Rum­ble in the jun­gle

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS -

AF­TER eight years of prepa­ra­tion, Perth Zoo’s orang-utan Nyaru has be­gun his jour­ney to the Su­ma­tran jun­gle in the hopes of re­pop­u­lat­ing the en­dan­gered species.

AF­TER eight years of prepa­ra­tion, Perth Zoo’s orang-utan Nyaru has be­gun his jour­ney to the Su­ma­tran jun­gle.

Eight-year-old male Nyaru departed on his jour­ney back to pro­tected rain­for­est this month with a Perth Zoo ve­teri­nar­ian and zookeep­ers.

He will spend sev­eral weeks ad­just­ing to his new sur­round­ings be­fore be­ing re­leased into the jun­gle.

“We are in­cred­i­bly proud that we are the only zoo in the world re­leas­ing Su­ma­tran oran-gutans into the wild, a pro­gram run by the Frank­furt Zoo­log­i­cal So­ci­ety and the In­done­sian Gov­ern­ment,” Perth Zoo chief ex­ec­u­tive Su­san Hunt said.

“Nyaru has been pre­pared since birth for this mo­men­tous oc­ca­sion and we are con­fi­dent he has the skills for wild suc­cess.”

Be­fore em­bark­ing on the jour­ney, Nyaru un­der­went pre­re­lease prepa­ra­tion with the Perth Zoo’s Jun­gle School pro­gram.

The pro­gram in­cluded the in­tro­duc­tion of In­done­sian fruits to his diet, en­rich­ment items to sharpen his for­ag­ing skills and ac­cess to a large fig tree to in­crease his fit­ness and hone his climb­ing and nest­mak­ing skills.

De­spite be­ing a soli­tary species, Nyaru also spent time with other orang­utans at the zoo be­fore his re­lease.

“This helps de­velop ap­pro­pri­ate so­cial be­hav­iour as he will en­counter un­known orang­utans when trav­el­ling through the jun­gle,” Ms Hunt said.

“Nyaru has also been fit­ted with a ra­dio trans­mit­ter im­plant which will help track­ers mon­i­tor him in the dense ter­rain of Bukit Ti­ga­pu­luh, in Su­ma­tra.”

Ms Hunt said the ul­ti­mate goal was for Nyaru to sire off­spring and help re­pop­u­late the jun­gle with the species.

It is es­ti­mated that as few as 6500 Su­ma­tran orang-utans are left in the wild, with main threats in­clud­ing loss of habi­tat due to rub­ber and palm oil plan­ta­tions, and poach­ing for the il­le­gal wildlife trade.

Nyaru is be­ing re­leased into the Su­ma­tran jun­gle.

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