In November 2016, the associationAnimal International Rescue (AIR), which specializes in rescuing orang utans in Borneo, sent two orang utans back to the wild. These two had been kidnapped when they were babies and had never felt the trees, reportsThe Dodo.Taken from the forest at a very young age, Johnny and Desi became pets for families in the surrounding villages. Luckily, the pair wasrescued in time to be rehabilitated and were able to return to their natural habitat. But sadly, this is not the case for most orang utans.
The rehabilitation process is long and painful, and the duo took four years to recover from the scars of the domesticated life and to learn to live as they were intended to - wild and free. After having stayed in a "forest school", where they met other orang utans to learn to socialize, Johnny and Desi were sent to an island where their capabilities for living on their own were evaluated carefully.
The story of these two monkeys has a happy ending, but there is a sad reality threatening the survival of orang utans in the area. With a constantly growing population of humans, the animals' natural habitat is gradually being destroyed to accommodate the people.
Today, there are only around7500 orang utansleft in the wild in Sumatra. If nothing is done to stop their decline, these "forest men" (the meaning of their name in Malay) will have disappeared entirely from the planet in ten years' time.