The orangutan release effort moves ever forward, with cooperation between the Central Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park (TNBBBR) Authority, USAID LESTARI, and the Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation enabling the return of more rehabilitated orangutans to natural habitat. Just a few weeks into 2020, this latest release will bring the total population of rehabilitated orangutans in TNBBBR to 166 individuals.
Three orangutans that have completed the rehabilitation process at the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre will be released in the forests of the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park (TNBBBR). The group of three includes one male (Chio) and two females (Rizky and Mia), with ages ranging from 13-18 years.
These three orangutans will depart today from Nyaru Menteng and head directly to the Hiran watershed in a journey estimated to take around 19 hours. The Hiran watershed area – located within the national park – has been utilised for orangutan releases since August 2019. The area is currently accommodating 33 orangutans from the four releases the BOS Foundation conducted there thus far.
ANDI MUHAMMAD KADHAFI, SHUT., MSI., Acting Head of the Central Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), said: «As a representative for the Indonesian government on the issues of wildlife and natural resources protection, the Central Kalimantan BKSDA is responsible for all efforts to save, rehabilitate, and release orangutans. We greatly appreciate the involvement of other stakeholders in this intensive release effort.
“It is very important to us to start the new year with a positive spirit. Therefore, we are pleased to be able to release more orangutans that are ready to live in the wild, starting with these three individuals. We would also like to call on the local community to be more actively involved in efforts to protect orangutans and their habitats. Anybody can contact us and report attempts to capture, keep, or hunt orangutans. Together we can ensure that orangutans have a safe and proper place. Let's join hands in protecting the forest and its biodiversity for the sake of our children and grandchildren.»
AGUNG NUGROHO, S.SI., M.A., Head of the Baka Bukit Raya National Park Authority (BTNBBBR), added: «The Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park Authority is fully committed to safeguarding the orangutans that are released here. The national park can accommodate these orangutans to live wild and free, while being safely protected and given the chance to thrive in a sustainable manner.
«The utilization of the Hiran watershed as an orangutan release area since last year is our way of optimising the distribution of released orangutans here in this national park. The effort has also helped orangutans to breed, with two natural births recorded. This is certainly encouraging news, particularly since the conservation status of the Bornean orangutan is still assessed as ‘critically endangered’. We need to help them to not only survive, but thrive.”
ERLINDA EKAPUTRI, USAID LESTARI Deputy Chief of Party for Aceh and Central Kalimantan Landscape, asserted USAID’s commitment to support the Indonesian government: «USAID LESTARI is fully committed to helping the Government of Indonesia in preserving its environment. On this occasion, we support the preservation of the Bornean orangutan which, despite having a very important role in maintaining the quality of forests and the integrity of the ecosystem and being protected by law, remains 'critically endangered'. We believe that the preservation of this umbrella species in the forests of Borneo and Sumatra will provide great benefits to us all, because humans simply cannot live without healthy forests.»