Meet the Release Team: Wiwik Astutik

Animal Care Coordinator & Coordinator for Forest School 3

Originally from the cool mountainous town of Malang in East Java, Wiwik never really liked to be in crowded places. So eventually she decided to move to East Kalimantan following a family member who worked in an oil company at the Wain River. Not long after, Wiwik witnessed a forest fire around the river and was devastated when she saw firsthand that a lot of forest animals became victimized. That was the first time she felt her calling to save animals.

Wiwik believed that it was fate when a technician at the Wain River told her that Samboja Lestari (formerly known as Wanariset) had a job opening. Her calling was answered. She applied for the job and was accepted as a database clerk in 1999. But soon enough she knew she did not want to work with data. So she asked the management if she could work with the orangutans instead. Luckily, there was a shortage of babysitters and Wiwik soon joined the team as one of the babysitters.

During her years as a babysitter, Wiwik had the opportunity to help a scientist – Rafaella – research orangutans for 2 years. In return, Rafella offered Wiwik a scholarship to finish her undergraduate degree. Wiwik of course gladly accepted. She returned to her hometown in Malang where she completed her degree in Psychology from the Muhammadiyah University. She returned to the BOS Foundation in early 2008 and was appointed as the Enrichment Coordinator for un-releasable orangutans.

Seeing her remarkable dedication to the orangutans, the BOS Foundation has now trusted Wiwik as the Coordinator for Animal Care. She is also the Coordinator for Forest School 3, which is a facility for release candidates, similar to a university level for humans. It is Wiwik and her team who have been hard at work preparing Casey, Mail, Lesan, Hamzah, Abbie and Berlian for their final journey home to the forest.

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