Rare Albino Orangutan Spotted In Rainforest One Year After Her Release
The world's only known living albino orangutan, Alba, truly is one of a kind. And, one year after her release into the Borneo rainforest, it looks like the blond-haired, blue-eyed primate is living her best life in the wild.
Alba was taken in by conservationists in 2017 after being found locked in a cage as a pet by villagers in the Indonesian region of Borneo, Kalimantan.
The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF), which took her in, reported that Alba had been separated from her mother and was severely underweight from lack of food, riddled with parasites and suffering from dehydration.
Following her rescue, the now-six-year-old ape spent almost two years recuperating, before being released back into her natural habitat - a 10-hectare man-made 'forest island' near the group's rehabilitation centre in Kalimantan - in December 2018.
"After we learned that she can build nests, forage independently and is no longer dependent on human assistance we concluded that she can survive in the forest," said Indra Exploitasia, the environment ministry's director of biodiversity conservation.
And it looks like she's been thriving since then. This week, the organisation confirmed the news that Alba had been spotted out and about while monitoring three other orangutans who were recently released.
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A statement on the BOSF website reads: "While monitoring Unyu, one of [the] newly released orangutans, the team looked on as he encountered Alba, the only albino orangutan known to man.
"Their immediate greeting served as a heart-warming reminder that during her time at the BOS Foundation's Nyaru Menteng Rehabilitation Centre, Alba had been housed together with Unyu."
Indra added: "I requested the post-release monitoring (PRM) team - consisting of staff from the National Park Authority and the BOS Foundation - to continue observing Alba for the next three months.
"We really want to ensure that Alba can thrive and live independently in this national park."
The team who are responsible for ensuring the survival of orangutans released in the national park consists of individuals from local communities who are there to ensure the sustainability of the program.
Dr. Ir. Jamartin Sihite, CEO of The BOS Foundation, said that those involved in the project are committed to working together with various conservation bodies to conduct observations and monitor the released orangutans within the park.
"Through this joint effort, we can assess the success rate of orangutan and habitat conservation efforts in Central Kalimantan," he explained.