By Mark Hodge @MrHodgey

A MOTHER and baby orangutan who were dying of starvation when they were rescued from the burnt forests of Borneo have been released back into the wild

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Videographer / director: International Animal Rescue
Producer: Mark Hodge, Nick Johnson
Editor: Ian Phillips

The team acted immediately and took the pair back to the rescue centre for rehabilitation

The pair were saved from a plantation after villagers in Semanai, Simpang Tiga, complained that the starving animals were eating their crops.

'Mama Nam' was “severely emaciated” when she was found by International Animal Rescue (IAR) staff, and so malnourished that she was no longer producing milk for her child.


The mother orangutan was so malnourished, her bones were visible through her skin

But despite her fragile condition, she was so determined to protect her baby that it took three anaesthetic darts to make her fall from her tree and into the rescue team’s net.

'Baby Nam', aged between 2 to 3 years old, was still clinging to his mum as she fell.

The two orangutans were both dehydrated and starving

The team took the pair back to IAR’s Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Ketapang, where they were nurtured back to health.

After over two months of rehabilitation, mother and baby were pronounced fit for release by the centre’s veterinary team, and Mama Nam was anaesthetised so that staff could give her a final medical check.

Six local porters helped carry the apes back to the rainforest

With the help of six local porters and workers from Gulung Palung National Park, the release team took the pair to Simpang Tiga village and carried the pair deep into the rainforest in a transport cage.

Little Baby Nam has a snack whilst his mother is under anaesthetic

After a three-hour journey, the team opened the cage and the loving mother, with her baby still clinging to her, leapt back into the rainforest.

The team travelled deep into Simpang Tiga village to release the healthy mother and baby

“It was so uplifting to see this mother and baby return to their rightful home in the forest after they had come so close to starving to death,” said IAR CEO Alan Knight.

Tragically, large areas of the Gulung Palung National Park were burnt down in fires last year.

he pair were nurtured back to health at IAR’s Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Ketapang
The pair were saved from a plantation after villagers in Semanai, Simpang Tiga, complained that the starving animals were eating their crops

“Mama Nam was just one of the victims to be forced out of the park in search of food and shelter,” said Karmele Llano Sanchez, Programme Director of IAR Indonesia.

The healthy mother orangutan leaps into the forest with the baby still clinging to her

“We fervently hope that in future we will be able to protect the forest and its wildlife from further fires and prevent a repeat of last year’s disastrous events.”