5 min read

These People Are Carrying Boxes Of Rescued Animals To Return Them To The Wild

They spent months preparing for this moment.

Two dozen animals just got a new lease on life because people refused to give up on them. 

After being kept in captivity as pets, 24 macaque monkeys have returned to the rainforest on the island of Sumatra, in Indonesia. This comes after months of careful rehabilitation and socialization to prepare the animals for their return to the wild. 

Monkey rescued from being a pet

Some of the monkeys had been abandoned after the novelty of keeping a pet monkey wore off or the animal got too large to handle. Many of them were treated as if they were human beings, which makes them forget certain important behaviors they would learn from their kind.

People from International Animal Rescue (IAR) worked with all 24 monkeys to help them remember where they came from so they could return home.  

Monkeys rescued from being pets in Indonesia

“Macaques are commonly caught and kept as pets in Indonesia. Their lives in captivity are utterly miserable," Alan Knight, CEO of IAR, said. "We are always delighted to be able to rescue these intelligent and sociable primates, rekindle their natural behaviors and return them to their home in the forest. It is a long and painstaking process but worth all the time and effort to give these monkeys back their freedom.”

Pet monkey getting ready to return to the wild

It took a long time and a lot of effort to get the monkeys used to the idea of being monkeys again.

"Usually the macaques have been close to humans for so long that they have lost the ability to behave like wild monkeys," Robithotul Huda, program manager for IAR Indonesia, said in a statement. That's why the organization didn't rush rehabilitation before their release.

After carefully monitoring their behavior for signs they were ready to go back home, rescuers put the monkeys into traveling containers that they would carry into the deep reaches of the rainforest, where the whole group would be safe.

Rescuers carrying pet monkeys through Indonesian rainforest for release back to the wild

Photos and footage capture the devotion of the people who helped them as they hiked deep into the rainforest with metal boxes containing the monkeys strapped to their backs. 


Once the monkeys arrived at the site, which was carefully selected for its access to the right kinds of food, they were placed in enclosures set up for them so they could spend a few days getting used to being back in the forest again. 


Then they were set free — but their rescuers will still be keeping an eye on them. 

“Post-release, IAR’s team also keeps track of their movements in the wild and observes their behavior to assess how well they have adapted to their new life,” Huda said. 

Pet monkey released in Indonesia

And people from IAR celebrated the success, wishing the monkeys all the best. "Enjoy your freedom!" the organization wrote

Already up in the branches of the trees, it was hard to tell exactly what the monkeys thought of their newfound freedom — but one could almost catch a glimpse of a smile. 

Rescued pet monkeys released into the wild in Indonesia
To help IAR carry out more rescues like this one, you can make a donation.