In exciting and heart-warming news, Monti was released into the jungle of Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park in West Borneo with her adopted baby daughter Anggun in February 2020. This beautiful girl has been in our adoption family for many years and we know that you will share our joy knowing that Monti has returned to her true jungle home.

Monti was rescued by International Animal Rescue in 2009. Her story is one of survival, resilience, recovery and recently, motherhood. As a baby, Monti was kept as a pet in squalid conditions. She was malnourished and in poor condition when she was rescued and needed round-the-clock care by the team of dedicated vets at the IAR rescue centre in West Kalimantan. After starting baby school, she found it hard to mix with the other orangutans and relied heavily on her keepers for comfort and reassurance. For Monti, this new world must have been very unnerving for her, but little did she know how incredible her journey was about to become.

The team at the rescue centre worked tirelessly to teach Monti not only the essential skills needed for survival in the wild, but to also become comfortable around other orangutans. Eventually, everything clicked into place. Monti started to show natural orangutan behaviours and was even teaching the younger orangutans, new skills! The team noticed this and decided she would be a fantastic candidate for a new surrogacy program. This program aimed to match older female orangutans with orphaned babies who were in need of extra-special love and care.

Monti was matched with a young female baby named Anggun, and they quickly developed a close and loving bond. The IAR team watched in amazement as she taught Anggun how to open coconuts and build nests, even allowing Anggun to rest on her belly at night. Anggun learned more vital forest survival skills from Monti when they moved to one of the IAR rehabilitation islands that The Orangutan Project funded.  

It was eventually decided that Monti and Anggun were suitable to be released together, ready to start a new life high in the trees of the Indonesian rainforest. On 11 February 2020, Monti and Angunn were released back into the wild, alongside three other orangutans. Words cannot describe how beautiful the moment was when she climbed out of the transport crate, with Anggun clinging to her side, and realised she was free! They will be followed and monitored closely by IAR orangutan post-release monitoring staff.

Thank you to all our adopters who have helped Monti and many others return to the wild. What an amazing effort by the IAR team to encourage this foster mother- infant pairing which can now play an important role in the rehabilitation process for many other orangutans. What a baby orangutan needs most in the world is their mum and Anggun has flourished under the care of the gentle and intelligent Monti.

We are so grateful to all of our Monti adopters who have supported her rehabilitation. Her freedom in the jungles of West Kalimantan has been made possible with generous support from her adopted parents. IAR senior veterinarian Dr Karmele Sanchez wanted to pass this message on; ‘Thank you to everyone that has made this journey of survival possible. Not only have you given Monti the gift of life, you have also given her the gift of motherhood, something truly special that will always be close to our hearts. We wish Monti and Anggun all the best in their new life in the forest.’

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