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For BOS Foundation, releasing orangutans to the wild is merely one part of a considerably long process. Prior to release, orangutans which have undergone in average 7-8 years in of rehabilitation process, will be placed in pre-release islands. The purpose of this move is to attune them to live independently in the wild with a small portion of supervision and observation from BOS Foundation’s technicians.

To date, the BOSF-owned Nyaru Menteng rehabilitation center depends greatly on 3 manmade islands: Kaja, Bengamat, and Palas to accomodate these orangutans prior to release. The area of these islands belongs to locals in which BOS Foundation rented. Over time and after more natural forest went through area conversion, more orangutans got stranded, and the more crowded the BOSF rehabilitation centers got with rescued orangutans. These pre-release islands have also gotten more packed, whilst understandably, the release candidates are impossible to inhabit them forever.

Then, what about orangutans with certain deficiencies  and unable to release? At Nyaru Menteng, around 10% of orangutan population is unreleaseable due to various factors, such as transferrable infectious diseases, handicaps, or minimum wild behavior due to prolonged human captives. BOS Foundation considers them to still have the right of living free in a more restricted and supervised environment. All this time, they are still put in a socialisation complex.

This is the reason why BOS Foundation got excited to hear about the possibility of utilising the area of Badak Besar and Badak Kecil, a small part of Salat Nusa island, Pulang Pisau Regency. During a survey by a team from BOS Foundation on the area, it is found that the areas in Badak Kecil and Badak Besar, separated by a small canal, are considered proper for a new release area as well as a limited release site (sanctuary). This means that there is a potential to allocate a part of this land for unreleasable orangutans. 

In total, the area the BOSF plans to utilise is 655 hectares out of 3,419 hectares of Salat Nusa island. The area assessed to have the ideal carrying capacity with unexploited vegetations, year-round isolation, and none wild orangutan population. Apart from that, the Badak Besar and Badak Kecil areas, both considered as Essential Ecosystem Area equipped with wetland ecosystem, apparently in this case it is the river, serves a great yet important environmental function for the biodiversity and human lives both, such as providing watershed protection, reducing the risk of flood, etc. 

Nonetheless there is a factor that the BOS Foundation feels necessary to immediately utilise and manage the area, it is the land damage caused by mining industry in neighboring areas. There are areas across the canal adjacent to Badak Besar, still within the area of Salat Nusa island, converted and exploited by mining industry.

A Little Piece of Orangutan Heaven (Photo credit: Indrayana)

A Little Piece of Orangutan Heaven (Photo credit: Indrayana)

A Little Piece of Orangutan Heaven (Photo credit: Indrayana)

A Little Piece of Orangutan Heaven (Photo credit: Indrayana)

A Little Piece of Orangutan Heaven (Photo credit: Indrayana)

As an organisation working in the field of orangutan and its habitat conservation, the BOS Foundation has proposed to acquire a management license in the two islands located in the estuary of Kahayan river and convert them into sanctuary for part of orangutans rehabilitated in Nyaru Menteng. Besides, by preserving the current natural condition, this area not only protect its biodiversity, but would also provide a clean water source, prevent erosion, and prevent flood.

The locals reside in Badak Besar and Badak Kecil live off their plantation, but the big portion of the area belongs to the government of Pulang Pisau Regency. BOS Foundation has made generous compensation for locals-owned 655 hectars plantations and now is ready to join hands with the government of Pulang Pisau regency to preserve the area.

Utilisation of non-primary forest areas into converted sanctuary for rehabilitated orangutans is a good short and mid-term solution for orangutan conservation. Even so, support of law enforcement  against crimes on over exploitation of natural resources would still be extremely useful. Without proper legal action towards poachers, killers, hunters, receivers, or owners of law-protected-wild animals, the Nyaru Menteng rehabilitation center would still be receiving confiscated and rescued orangutans. This would also mean that the target set in Indonesian Orangutan Conservation Strategy and Action Plan: 2007-2017 by ex-President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in 2007 stating that in 2015 there would be no more orangutan rehabilitation center in Sumatera and Kalimantan, would wind out further from reality.

We need a healthy earth. the healthy earth needs a quality forest. The healthy forest needs orangutans. So let’s help save orangutans for a healthier earth!

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