Oran­gutan Sanctuaries

We are curr­ently caring for over 400 rescued, orphaned, and confis­cated oran­gutans in two rescue centers. We are prepa­ring them for a life in the wild. However, their journey to freedom is as diverse as the fates of the animals that come to us.

Discover the Oran­gutan Journey to Freedom

Oran­gutans are the last great apes of Asia. In the wild, they mostly live as soli­tary animals high up in the trees of the rain­fo­rests of Borneo and Sumatra, their natural habitat. However, their sanc­tuary is incre­asingly threa­tened by defo­re­sta­tion, illicit wild­life trade, and human encroach­ments. The harro­wing reality they face includes being hunted, captured, or even kept as pets. Their predi­ca­ment demands a united human response. The oran­gutans need our help.

More than 400 animals in two oran­gutan rescue centres

The Borneo Oran­gutan Survival Foun­da­tion runs two oran­gutan rescue centres (Samboja Lestari and Nyaru Menteng) on Borneo (Indo­nesia) , where curr­ently around 400 rescued, confis­cated, injured and orphaned oran­gutans have found refuge. An exten­sive reha­bi­li­ta­tion programme is prepa­ring the peaceful primates for a life in freedom.

How does a rescue centre work?

In the centres, the animals receive medical care, suffi­cient healthy food and trai­ning for an inde­pen­dent life in the rain­fo­rest. Through stages like the forest kinder­garten, forest school, and pre-release islands, they are prepared to embrace the wilder­ness once again. Our ulti­mate goal is their release into secure protected areas, where they can thrive, repro­duce, and contri­bute to their species’ survival. However, the journey to freedom is as diverse as the indi­vi­duals we rescue.

Many oran­gutans have lost their habitat.

Ramangai  came as 6 months baby to BOSF sanctuary.

An oran­gutan rescue

BOS works closely with the Indo­ne­sian conser­va­tion autho­rity BKSDA on animal rescues. As soon as a report of an injured, orphaned or ille­gally petted oran­gutan is received, the teams move out together.

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More Infor­ma­tion

Uniting Forces for the orangutans

If an adult animal is in distress, it is sedated by a BOS vete­ri­na­rian and examined right on the spot. If its health condi­tion is stable, it is relo­cated directly to a safe forest area. If the oran­gutan is sick or injured, it is brought to the rescue centre’s vete­ri­nary clinic for medical care. There, an indi­vi­dual decision is made on how to proceed with the animal once treat­ment is completed.

Human animal conflicts

Often it is workers on palm oil plan­ta­tions who report the animals. As humans pene­trate deeper and deeper into the oran­gutans’ habitat, they come closer and closer to humans in their search for food — a human-animal conflict that is coming to a head. The oran­gutans are fort­u­nate if the workers alert BOS or the respon­sible nature conser­va­tion autho­rity instead of simply killing the animals. But even though killing the animals is a criminal offence under Indo­ne­sian law, this still happens frequently: Poachers shoot the mothers to sell the babies on the black market. Although it is forbidden, keeping an oran­gutan as a pet is considered a status symbol in Indonesia.

Our Conser­va­tion Centers as a New Opportunity

The inter­na­tional market also offers poachers a very lucra­tive income for oran­gutan babies. If the autho­ri­ties manage to track down these animals, they are confis­cated and handed over to the BOS Foun­da­tion. They are then sent to our oran­gutan sanc­tua­ries, where a large team with a lot of commit­ment and know­ledge takes care of the reha­bi­li­ta­tion of the animals. Our goal is that one day the animals will be released and can live in freedom again.
In order to achieve this goal, we need strong part­ners at our side. That is why we coope­rate closely with Inter­na­tional Animal Rescue, for example, and exch­ange infor­ma­tion on the status of the respec­tive rescues. Toge­ther we are stronger, and we know more. A dedi­cated network is important to get infor­ma­tion and to colla­bo­rate on solu­tions for animal welfare.

Medical care and quarantine

Upon arrival at our sanc­tuary, every oran­gutan receives thorough medical evalua­tion, vacci­na­tions, and neces­sary treat­ments from our skilled vete­ri­na­rians. Quaran­tine, lasting three months, offers a protec­tive haven as they recover from dise­ases such as tuber­cu­losis or hepa­titis, often contracted from humans. Some bear visible wounds, while others carry hidden traumas. BOS provides round-the-clock care and a reha­bi­li­ta­tion process fueled by dedi­ca­tion and compassion.

Finger­prints as well as nail, blood and hair samples are taken for genetic testing from every oran­gutan that comes to BOS . On the one hand, this ensures that the animals can be clearly iden­ti­fied throug­hout their lives. In addi­tion, it helps in loca­ting the right areas for a possible subse­quent rein­tro­duc­tion of the oran­gutans into the wild. This is because there are Bornean oran­gutan subspe­cies whose gene pools should not be mixed. Such mixing could have a nega­tive impact on the surviva­bi­lity of popu­la­tions that are already threa­tened. A micro­chip is also implanted under the skin. This does not hurt the animal and faci­li­tates faster iden­ti­fi­ca­tion during follow-up exami­na­tions.
Throug­hout their time in our sanc­tua­ries, the oran­gutans receive regular medical check-ups and care. Once a year, they have a major health check-up. Doctors docu­ment the animals’ height and weight, check their blood and take x‑rays. Finally, the teeth are checked. If ever­y­thing is OK, the oran­gutans are allowed to return to the others. If they are sick or have an infec­tion, they stay in the quaran­tine ward for further treatment.

Regular medical checkups

All tests are labeled with cautious

Our vets are essen­tial for the oran­gutan care

What does the oran­gutan reha­bi­li­ta­tion involve?

As soon as the quaran­tine is over and the animals are in good health, their indi­vi­dual reha­bi­li­ta­tion begins. The aim is to enable the oran­gutans to survive inde­pendently in the jungle and to repro­duce there. The specific measures depend on the age, stage of deve­lo­p­ment and state of health of the indi­vi­dual animal.
Some can leave our centres soon because of their exis­ting survival skills. But most stay for many years — espe­ci­ally if they come to our oran­gutan centre on Borneo as babies. Then they go through all the grades of the oran­gutan jungle school where they learn ever­y­thing neces­sary for a life in freedom.
In the wild, oran­gutans are taught all they need for survival by their mother during the first seven to eight years of their lives. Both are inse­pa­rable. In addi­tion to acqui­ring the neces­sary skills, the mother’s physical contact and perma­nent avai­la­bi­lity are parti­cu­larly important during this time. Due to emotional reasons the Inten­sive care and loving atten­tion are ther­e­fore very important for the often trau­ma­tised orphans.

Last stop before independence

The last stop before release is the so called Forest Univer­sity – the prere­lease islands of BOSF rescue centers. Curr­ently, we have five pre-release islands with around one hundred animals. Being comple­tely on their own for the first time and without direct human contact, they have to prove on these islands that they are capable of living inde­pendently.
Our vets regu­larly monitor the health of the poten­tial release candi­dates. The decision as to when they are ready to live freely for good is made collectively.


The so called Forest univer­si­ties are the last stop before release for the orangutans

Through sanc­tuary islands BOSF provides life in dignity for the unre­leasable orangutans

Provi­ding Sanc­tuary for Every Story

While some oran­gutans over­come unima­gi­nable hard­ships, others bear wounds that refuse to heal fully. Be it severe trauma, incurable illnesses, or lasting physical limi­ta­tions, these indi­vi­duals cannot return to the wild. Yet, they find solace in a forever home at BOS. Our expan­ding sanc­tuary islands mimic the wild, provi­ding a haven where these resi­lient souls can thrive and feel at home.


Make a dona­tion for the orangutans

Make a one-time donation

Oran­gutans need our help! With your dona­tion for the oran­gutans you accom­pany and support an oran­gutan on its journey until its release into the wild.

Donate now

Make a dona­tion for the orangutans

Make a one-time donation

Oran­gutans need our help! With your dona­tion for the oran­gutans you accom­pany and support an oran­gutan on its journey until its release into the wild.

Orang-Utan-Retter werden

Frequently asked questions

Where are the Borneo Oran­gutan Survival Foun­da­tion centers located

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They are in Borneo (locally known as Kali­mantan). Speci­fi­cally, Nyaru Menteng is in Central Kali­mantan, while Samboja Lestari is situated near Balik­papan in East Kalimantan.

What is the primary role of these rescue centers?

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Our rescue stations serve as reha­bi­li­ta­tion hubs for over 400 oran­gutans. Through compre­hen­sive care, we prepare them for life back in the wild. These centers, in opera­tion for three decades, have enabled nearly 500 oran­gutans to return to the wild and contri­bute to the species conservation.

How many oran­gutans live in the centres?

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Presently, our two centers provide refuge to over 400 orangutans.

Where can you still find wild living oran­gutans today?

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Today, oran­gutans can only be found on the Southeast Asian islands of Borneo and Sumatra. On Sumatra, the Suma­tran oran­gutan (Pongo abelii) and the Tapa­nuli oran­gutan (Pongo tapa­nu­li­ensis) are mainly living in the western and northwes­tern parts of the island. On Borneo, they are predo­mi­nantly found in the southern and eastern regions.

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Dona­tions are a matter of trust

Trans­pa­rent use of funds is a matter of course for us. In September 2013, we joined the a non profit initia­tive of Trans­pa­rency Inter­na­tional Germany and signed its decla­ra­tion of commitment.