Confiscation and Rehabilitation

Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme / Confiscation and Rehabilitation

The SOCP facilities operate to the highest international standards and guidelines for reintroduction. Every year between 20 and 40 rescued orangutans enter the programme.

Despite the fact that it has long been illegal to kill, capture, keep or trade orangutans in Indonesia, these wildlife laws have seldom been effectively enforced. One excuse that was often offered to explain this shortcoming was a lack of suitable facilities to accommodate confiscated animals. Between 1972 and 1995 any confiscated Sumatran orangutans were normally taken to Sumatra’s only orangutan rehabilitation center at that time, in Bohorok (popularly also known as Bukit Lawang), in North Sumatra. In 1995, however, the old Bohorok orangutan rehabilitation center was effectively closed, as it no longer met the needs of international guidelines, or Indonesia’s own legislation covering orangutan rehabilitation and reintroduction.

According to currently accepted guidelines for the quarantine and reintroduction of great apes, such as the IUCN Guidelines for the Reintroduction of Great Apes, and an Indonesian Governmental Ministerial Decree from 1995, confiscated orangutans should only be released in areas where there is no existing wild orangutan population. All confiscated orangutans must also pass a mandatory quarantine period, in specialist facilities, meaning there can be no contact between the orangutans and tourists or other visitors. These regulations and guidelines are extremely important to avoid the risk of reintroduced orangutans competing for resources with, and possibly spreading diseases to, the already Critically Endangered wild orangutan population.

Since the SOCP was established in 1999, appropriate specialist facilities now exist that operate in full compliance with international guidelines and regulations. SOCP’s orangutan quarantine centre at Batu Mbelin, North Sumatra, and the two reintroduction centers, near the Bukit Tigapuluh National Park in Jambi Province and at Jantho, in Aceh Province, are all fully equipped, staffed by experienced personnel, and operate to the highest standards. Well over 200 orangutans have now been returned to the wild as a result of this work, and two entirely new wild populations of this Critically Endangered species are gradually being established, as a back up “safety net” for the remaining wild population, increasing the likelihood that at least some orangutans will survive in Sumatra’s forests in the future.

Help us give an orangutan a second chance of freedom!

It costs approximately $3,000US to confiscate, quarantine and release one orangutan. A little bit of help goes a long way!

Donate to Confiscations and Rehabilitation now

For more information on our orangutan release program in Jantho, Aceh Province Indonesia, please see here.

For all media inquiries please contact us by filling in the form here.

To counteract the explosive extinction of the Sumatran rainforest, the Orangutan Coffee Project supports coffee farmers in the highland of Gayo, Aceh province to manage their plantations in an ecological and sustainable way.


Special premiums from Orangutan Coffee trade reward both local coffee farmers and also support the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme.

Behind the scenes at our Rehabilitation Centre

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Our Quarantine Centre for Orangutans


Confiscating orangutans. The hard reality of the SOCP job


Meet the orangutans we have sent back to the wild


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