Batu Mbelin is the only quarantine and care centre for the Sumatran orangutan. It is run by the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP). It is located near Medan in North Sumatra and was opened in 2002. Illegally held orangutans confiscated in Sumatra are taken to the SOCP Quarantine Centre. Many have been kept as pets or have been injured by palm oil plantation workers. Orangutans are given a full medical check upon arrival and treated for any illnesses and parasites. They undergo a quarantine period before being introduced to other compatible orangutans.
Many confiscated orangutans are very young and require regular milk feeds. Young orangutans have full time carers during the day and night and are also given tree climbing lessons in the grounds. When orangutans are deemed suitable for release they are either sent to the Bukit Tigapuluh release site in the province of Jambi or to the Jantho Reintroduction centre in the province of Aceh.
It costs approximately $300,000 AUD per annum to run the Batu Mbelin Quarantine Centre. Costs include staff salaries, orangutan confiscation costs, transportation costs, orangutan food, orangutan medical costs, food for staff and maintenance work.
Project Leader: Dr Ian Singleton