Papa: Fall 2021


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Rehabilitation Center: BOS Samboja Lestari
Arrival Date: 1 September 1994
Age on Arrival: 4 years
Gender: Male
Health Status: Healthy, Hepatitis B (Unreleasable)

At the age of 32, Papa is one of the oldest orangutans at Samboja Lestari. For the past four years, Papa has been living on Island #4 alongside three females: Vera, Citra, and Isti. Even with this company, Papa prefers to be alone and rarely interacts with the other orangutans. When technicians come to distribute fruit, Papa will go to the feeding platform and eat there alone, but if there are other orangutans present, he will quickly grab some food and move off to eat it elsewhere.

Papa is an avid explorer and likes to visit all areas of the island, but his favorite area is the side of the island that is directly opposite the Samboja Lestari clinic. We can see Papa there every day, sitting right at the edge of the canal, observing the humans as they go about their activities on the other side. It is not only our vets and veterinary team members that Papa pays attention to, he is also very interested in the movements of our surrogate mothers and technicians who go to the Baby House located behind the clinic. Papa doesn’t really react much to all the activity going on across the way; he usually just sits there and quietly keeps watch, like a security guard.

A few months ago, our Samboja Lestari veterinary team performed a dental procedure on Papa - an extraction, to be precise, due to cavities. Prior to the surgery, we had to sedate and transport him from the island to the clinic. Luckily, our veterinarians and technicians didn't have much trouble sedating Papa, thanks to his calm nature. The sedation process was relatively quick, which, for a big male like him, is usually a difficult task.

After Papa fell completely unconscious, the team rushed him to the clinic. However, carrying and loading heavy Papa into the boat proved to be no easy task. He was heavier than we thought! It took four strong technicians to carry him from the island onto the boat. After crossing the 4-meter wide canal, they placed Papa into a wheelbarrow and wheeled him away to the clinic, where our veterinary team was waiting in the operating room.

The tooth extraction procedure started at 9 am, and ended at 3 pm. The team succeeded in removing five of Papa’s teeth that showed the potential to cause future problems and infection. After the procedure was over, our team members had to hurry to return Papa to Island #4.

In the operating room, we also got the opportunity to collect more accurate data on Papa's condition. We had time to weigh him, and discovered his weight was 117 kg. No wonder it was difficult for us to transport him back and forth! We also rated Papa's BCS (body condition score) at 4, indicating he was overweight. However, no other health problems were discovered.

A month after his tooth extraction, the surgery sites on Papa’s gums had healed fully and without infection. To help him recover, our nutrition team provided soft foods, like boiled sweet potato, for Papa to easily chew. Papa was also provided with fruit containing a lot of water, such as pineapple, watermelon, and banana, in addition to vegetables.

Papa is now back to actively exploring the island, just as he was before. He has also returned to his security post, watching the humans across the canals. A particularly funny moment occurred when our communications team arrived to take Papa’s photo for the regular report – he suddenly changed positions, making it easier for the team to take a clear picture of him. Thank you, Papa, for taking notice of us and being so good at posing!