In 2013, female orangutan Sam was rescued from appalling conditions in a Malaysian zoo. After initial care at the SOCP Orangutan Quarantine Centre in North Sumatra, she was soon transferred to the Bukit Tigapuluh (BTP) rehabilitation and release program in Jambi.
Despite her tough start in life, we wanted to give Sam every chance to live in the jungle. We knew this would be a long journey since she had spent her whole life in captivity. Sam was housed in a pre-release enclosure and began her rehabilitation journey. This included being given forest foods such as fruits, leaves and termites to eat and foliage to learn how to build a nest. She could also watch and learn from other orangutans nearby climbing in the canopy and foraging as they participated in forest school outings.
Then, in 2015, we were surprised and excited to discover that Sam was pregnant to a released and now wild orangutan named Rocky. However, Sam’s pregnancy changed everything. Despite her progress and plans to release her in the near future, Sam would be too vulnerable to return to the wild while pregnant and for some time after the baby’s birth.
Little Cupcake was born in June 2015 and Sam has been a devoted and attentive mother. She has successfully nursed baby Cupcake and introduced him to solid food by first chewing it and then passing it to Cupcake to eat. Cupcake is an active, cheeky and adventurous little boy! The pair have been working towards freedom and a new life, by learning the skills they’ll need for independence and survival in the wild.