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Alba will soon be nesting in the trees!

The world’s only known albino orangutan, Alba, is destined for the forest and will start her new life on a 10-hectare forest-island home by the end of June. 

Like humans, all orangutans are unique individuals. There is one orangutan, however, that completely stands out from the crowd. Alba is the only albino orangutan known in the world. She was aptly named after the Latin word for “white,” in a naming competition run by BOS Foundation in May 2017.  Soon, Alba will be moved to a special man-made island that encompasses 10 hectares of natural habitat, so she can live a life of freedom, while remaining protected from human threats.

Alba was rescued in a joint effort by the BOS Foundation and the Central Kalimantan Natural Resource Conservation Agency (BKSDA) on 29 April 2017, in Kapuas Regency, Central Kalimantan. The news of her discovery attracted international attention. Her plight deeply touched the hearts and minds of people from across the world, and left many wondering how her story will progress.

Even though Alba has good experience living in the wild – a trait that would usually mean she could be translocated quickly without a lengthy rehabilitation process – her albinism makes her a very special case, requiring a bespoke rehabilitation strategy. The symptoms of albinism – namely the lack of the pigment, melanin, in her hair and skin – can lead to health complications, such as, poor eyesight, poor hearing, and skin cancer, and make her more vulnerable to hunting or predation.

Alba will be accompanied on her new forest-island home by three other orangutans – Radmala (female, aged 4), Kika (female, aged 6), and Unyu (male, aged 4) – all of whom have been introduced to Alba and they have bonded well together. All show a certain level of wild behaviour and can be categorised as semi-wild.

Once on the island, Alba and the others will have full-time monitoring and security provided by staff who will conduct patrols and collect data on their behaviour and health. Additionally, our staff will record which orangutans are seen at the feeding platform, where supplementary foods are provided twice a day.

Construction works on the island is mostly completed and running at full speed. The canal that serves as a natural border was completed near the end of 2017. Construction of security and monitoring infrastructure is also underway; we hope to complete this by the end of February. However, there is still time to donate to Alba and her new home. The collected funds will be used to build feeding platforms and security posts on the island, and help us to provide her with their daily needs. With your support, Alba and her friends can get to know their wild side on the island.

BOS expect to conduct Alba’s relocation on June 2018 by the latest.

Text by: BOS Foundation Communication Team

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Three Amigos!

Arief and Belinda

Arief and Belinda

On Tuesday morning, three of our PRM team from Camp Nles Mamse – Luy, Cohel and Valerie – headed toward the phenology transect 2 in search of Belinda, a female orangutan we released in July this year. A few days prior, the team had spotted Belinda as they were returning to camp.

Fortunately the team found Belinda not far from the nest she was previously seen resting in. The team began to observe her and collect data on her activities. Shortly after, the team saw movements in the canopy, followed by the appearance of Long and Arief!

Belinda

Belinda

Belinda, aware that Long and Arief were coming her way, greeted them as they arrived, and the three spent time together. Arief seemed to be still quite attached to Long, and kiss-squeaked twice before leaving his adoptive mother’s side to approach Belinda, who couldn’t resist her adorable visitor’s invitation to play.

Arief followed Belinda’s every move, while attentive Long observed and allowed him the freedom to play with his new friend. Belinda didn’t seem to mind Arief trailing her; she paid him attention with loving strokes every now and then, and even shared some of her food with the young male.

Long and Arief

Long and Arief

Arief played and wrestled with Belinda, who patiently tolerated her young playmate’s antics. Belinda tried to build a nest, but soon stopped her construction efforts when she realised Arief was still in the mood to play. After some time, Arief returned to Long, giving Belinda the chance to prepare her night nest.

Daylight started to slowly fade and the nocturnal insects began to sound their night choir. It was time for the team to leave the trio to rest for the night.

It was fantastic to have witnessed these three orangutans thriving in the Kehje Sewen Forest. Wrapping up a successful day of observations, the team headed back to camp to share their story of Belinda, Long and Arief.

Text by: PRM team in Camp Nles Mamse, Kehje Sewen Forest

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