Heartwarming moment when an orangutan is reunited with her baby who was kidnapped

Humans and orangutans share remarkable similarities both behaviorally and physically.

Great apes, like humans, showcase incredible intelligence, demonstrating the ability to learn languages for communication, express emotions, and employ tools for various purposes, such as using umbrellas to stay dry.

Similarly, the emotional spectrum of these creatures resembles that of humans. Just like human infants, baby orangutans exhibit behaviors like crying when hungry, whimpering when sad, and smiling at their mothers.

This touching narrative revolves around a mother who, with utmost tenderness, embraces her baby girl in a heartwarming reunion. The poignant moment unfolds after the little one was previously taken by the dominant male.

Approximately four years ago, Clara, an adult female orangutan, welcomed her baby, Clarita, into the world on Salat Island. This island serves a dual purpose for the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) — functioning both as a “pre-release area for orangutan release candidates” and as a sanctuary for orangutans deemed “unreleasable.”

In the context of the BOSF, “unreleasable” orangutans are those who lack the necessary skills to survive independently but are not destined to spend their lives confined within cages. Instead, they are granted the right to live in a natural environment, surrounded by the forest.

Clara and her newly born offspring, Clarita, resided on the island for pre-release, enjoying life in the canopied forest within a protected area.

During a routine check on the newborn, technicians observed that Clarita was in the company of Rizki, a 14-year-old male orangutan, and his companions. Recognizing the potential risks, the team swiftly intervened to safely rescue the vulnerable little one. Clarita required urgent attention for a severe rash and malnutrition, having been separated from her breastfeeding mother.

The team acted promptly to rescue the infant, transporting her to the clinic for necessary care and observation.

In addition to rescuing Clarita, there was a need to capture Clara. According to Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF), Clara seemed to be hiding on Salat, displaying behavior that suggested an attempt to avoid the other orangutans on the island, particularly Rizki, who had taken her daughter.

Once both mother and baby, who was also suffering from a painful rash, were safely in the clinic, technicians experienced a mix of excitement and apprehension about their reunion.

The prospect of Clara rejecting her baby loomed, potentially leading Clarita to enter the reintroduction program. This program involves a seven-year educational period before the orangutan is safely released into a natural habitat.

In the heartwarming reunion footage, a cautious veterinarian is seen cradling Clarita as they approach the cage temporarily housing her mother, who is undergoing treatment for the rash. Speaking softly to Clara, the vet says, “This is your baby, yes sweetheart. Look at her, maybe you need to get to know each other first.” Clara’s eyes remain fixed on her vulnerable daughter.

Through the bars of the cage, Clara tenderly kisses the baby on the tuft of fur popping from the top of her head. Encouraged by Clara’s positive behavior, the technician decides to allow the mother to hold her baby.

Clara eagerly stretches out her hand, attempting to open the lock. Once they are in the same space, the mother affectionately embraces the baby. As Clarita’s whimpering intensifies, Clara lies on her back, permitting the baby to feed.

Witnessing this heartwarming scene, several technicians become emotional, and one of them expresses, “I cannot say in words, it’s so beautiful. It was one of the best moments of my [life] to see this. It’s really nice.”

In an October 2018 update, the sanctuary provided information about Clara and Clarita’s progress.

After making a full recovery, Clara and Clarita were relocated to a pre-release island, allowing the team to monitor their development and evaluate their readiness for release into the wild.

Meeting the release criteria, in September 2018, Clara and Clarita embarked on their new lives in the forests of the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya Nation.

The heartwarming video capturing Clara and Clarita’s reunion stands as one of the sweetest clips, transcending species boundaries to showcase the unyielding love of a mother. The shared video allows us to appreciate and celebrate this remarkable bond.

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