KOTA KINABALU: Tiger, the rescued baby orang utan that spent 17 years in the Sepilok Forest Reserve, is back where he belongs.
Now 19 years of age and considered an adult, Tiger was set free at the Tabin Wildlife Reserve (TWR) in Lahat Datu yesterday.
Sabah Wildlife Department assistant director Dr Sen Nathan said they were confident that Tiger would not face many problems adjusting to his “new and bigger home”.
He said this was because Tiger had been living free at the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre since his rescue.
“The centre has become too small for him and we feel he can survive better in the wild.
“The veterinarians and wildlife rangers also agreed that it is time for Tiger to live on his own,” he said.
Dr Sen said the veterinarians conducted their final medical check-up and tests on Tiger on Tuesday.
“At 3am yesterday (Wednesday), we loaded Tiger into a transport cage and started the first stage of his journey to freedom.
“First was a three-hour car journey from the Sepilok centre, then onto the TWR’s helipad,” he said.
Dr Sen said from there, Tiger was flown to the wildlife reserve core area where he last made contact with humans.
The TWR comprises about 120,000ha mature secondary jungle and virgin primary forest.
Dr Sen said the process was made possible through the cooperation between the Sabah Wildlife Department, Orangutan Appeal UK and the Danau Girang Field Centre.