COVID-19 - Special precautions being undertaken to ensure the health and safety of orangutans
Home Page > News > EOFY Appeal – Will you help Ryan find his freedom?

From rescue to release – Ryan’s journey to freedom

As the end of the financial year comes to a close, we urgently need your help to purchase and protect more critical habitat so that orangutans like Ryan can be released safely back into the wild.

Please help us by making a tax-deductible donation by 30 June. Your donation may not only reduce your taxable income, it will also help rehabilitated orangutans like Ryan return to the wild.

Many of you know and love Ryan as he was one of the very first orphan orangutans to join the OFI Australia foster program. Over the last ten years, we have been privileged to watch Ryan grow from a tiny nappy-wearing infant, into a beautiful, confident and very large sub-adult male.

Thanks to Ryan’s foster parents and the generosity of our OFI Australia supporters, Ryan has been provided with all the emotional and physical support he has needed to flourish along the way.

Ryan is progressing through forest school with flying colours. He is mastering all the necessary skills he will need to thrive when that wonderful day arrives for him to be released back into the wild. We are hoping that day comes soon. We can’t wait to let you know when he has reached the final stages of his rehabilitation and is being considered for release along with a number of other orangutans!

But we can’t release Ryan or any of his friends until we can ensure they have protected forest to live in.

Will you help Ryan find his freedom?

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation before 30 June so we can secure a safe home for Ryan.

Donate now

Ryan’s journey – Rescue

Ryan arrived at the OFI Care Centre in 2013, when he was about eighteen months old. We knew his approximate age from his teeth, but he was very small and looked much younger. Many orphan orangutans that arrive at the Orangutan Care Centre and Quarantine are traumatised, sick, injured and malnourished. After being thoroughly checked over by our vet team, Ryan was given a surrogate human mother to provide him the constant attention, love and emotional support he needed, as he was welcomed into his new home in the infant nursery.


Ryan has always been a cheeky, playful, boisterous and very sociable orangutan. As an infant he spent his early years playing with his friends in the nursery playground, before progressing to forest school where he was taught how to climb and swing, forage for food and build nests.

Growing up, there was never a dull moment with Ryan! He was quite the dare devil, always on the lookout for action and adventure! He would often be found playing in the mud or wrestling with his mates. He just loved exploring and was always the last (and the dirtiest!) to come home from forest school. His carers would often have to persuade him with treats to come back to camp after a long day venturing out into the forest.

Preparing for Ryan’s release

Ryan has flourished during his time at the Care Centre and has grown in both confidence and size! He has matured into a handsome, dominant sub-adult male, with broad shoulders and deep reddish-brown hair. He has even started to develop his cheek pads.

Unfortunately, Ryan’s maturity, strength, and assertiveness now make it difficult and often dangerous for him to be released into the Learning Forest. Even the most experienced carers find it challenging to persuade Ryan to come back to camp.

As his caregivers assess Ryan’s readiness for potential release into the wild, Ryan needs to wait in his enclosure until a suitable release location can be found. He will be closely monitored and provided with plenty of enrichment while he awaits his freedom.

Why we need your help!

Releasing rehabilitated orangutans back to the wild is a complicated, time-consuming and costly process and finding a suitable release site is one of the main constraints. With the massive deforestation caused by palm oil, timber plantations and industrial development there is very little forest left to release rehabilitated individuals. Land prices continue to increase and there is competition from palm oil companies to purchase what little land is left.

OFI only releases orangutans into protected forest areas that satisfy strict safety requirements, and which can provide enough seasonal wild fruit for all its inhabitants. Additionally, OFI sets up camps in the release sites to track and monitor the released orangutans and provide supplementary food if required. They also establish guard posts and patrol the area to protect it from poachers and illegal loggers.

Finally, before releasing any orangutans back to the wild, permission must be granted by the Indonesian government and the relevant Forestry Department authorities.

Once all of these pieces fall into place, the orangutans deemed most suitable for release will spend time at our Quarantine facility, receiving all the necessary health checks to ensure they will have the best chance of thriving in the wild.

Will you help secure a safe home for Ryan?

Ryan is one of many orangutans at the Care Centre who are currently being assessed for release. We are thrilled that he has reached this milestone and believe Ryan will thrive in the wild once a suitable release site can be found.

But first, we desperately need your help to purchase and protect land to get him there.

Please help Ryan find his freedom

Please consider a tax-deductible donation before 30 June and help Ryan find his freedom.

In Australia, all donations over $2 are tax deductible. With the end of financial year upon us, there is no better time to donate!

We look forward to keeping you updated on Ryan’s progress and are so grateful for any support you can give. Our work to protect orangutans is as critical as ever and we can’t do it without you!

With sincere thanks from the OFI Australia team.

Donate today