WATCH: ITV Meridian's Charlotte Wilkins has been speaking to the CEO of International Animal Rescue, Gavin Bruce.
A Sussex based animal rescue charity has helped to release six Bornean orangutans back into the wild following rehabilitation.
International Animal Rescue, based in Uckfield, worked with its partners in Indonesia to release the orangutans into a national park at the end of June.
Among the animals was Budi who was rescued from captivity in December 2014 as a baby.
Among the animals was Budi who was rescued from captivity in December 2014 as a baby. Credit: International Animal Rescue.
He had been kept for nearly a year in a chicken cage and fed entirely on condensed milk which had left him slowly dying of malnutrition.
Rescue teams rushed to the aid of the baby orangutan and made the ten hour journey to bring him to an orangutan rehabilitation centre for emergency treatment.
Over the next weeks and months, the world watched as Budi gradually gained strength, learning first to sit up on his own, then to hold a bottle of milk, to swallow solid food and then to start behaving like an orangutan, learning to walk and then to climb and move around in the treetops.
International Animal Rescue says the release of these great apes is an important step in efforts to preserve protected wildlife and restore orangutan populations in the wild.
Before they were released, all the orangutans had completed the rehabilitation, medical and behavioural studies to confirm that they were healthy and ready to return to the wild.
So far, 69 orangutans have been released into the area since 2016. Five baby orangutans have been born in the National Park since.
Alan Knight, President of International Animal Rescue, added: “Urgent action is needed to halt and reverse the threat to global biodiversity, particularly Critically Endangered species such as the orangutan.
"The efforts of the BKSDA, the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park and YIARI to rebuild wild orangutan populations by reintroducing rehabilitated individuals is a perfect example of how rescue and rehabilitation can contribute to orangutan conservation.”
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