Wigly was moved to pre-release Bangamat Island for the final stage of his rehabilitation at Nyaru Menteng in March 2019. Wigly was going well on the island – exploring and searching for food.
In August, the water levels around some of the orangutan islands became very low. In some cases, the water level dropped below 1 metre and therefore the decision was made to remove orangutans from particular islands to prevent the chance of them escaping. The water level usually drops during the dry season however this year has been particularly bad. BOS Foundation increased staff patrols around the islands whilst the water levels dropped, and prioritised orangutan relocations based on risk factor.
Wigly had been observed playing on the Rungan riverbank by BOSF staff and he was considered to be high risk for escaping his island home. On the first day of evacuation, Wigly was spotted playing on the river bank. The team, including one vet, ended up in a game of hide-and-seek with Wigly, who seemed to know that he was their target. One of the technicians threw fruit onto the island to distract Wigly while a vet standing on the boat fired a tranquilizer dart from behind. Wigly was soon fast asleep. Wigly’s best friend named Ello was also evacuated. Wigly will now remain in a complex at Nyaru Menteng until the dry season ends and river levels rise.