The Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation is again cooperating with the East Kalimantan Natural Resource Conservation Agency (BKSDA) to release six orangutans to the Kehje Sewen Forest, East Kutai Regency, as part of their East Kalimantan Orangutan Reintroduction Program at Samboja Lestari. These releases bring the total number of orangutans released in the Kehje Sewen Forest to 103.
The BOS Foundation continues to work with the East Kalimantan BKSDA to carry out releases of rehabilitated orangutans from the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Rehabilitation Center to Kehje Sewen Forest, an Ecosystem Restoration Concession covering 86,450 hectares in Muara Wahau District, East Kutai Regency. The ultimate goal of releasing rehabilitated orangutans in Kehje Sewen Forest is to a create new, viable orangutan population that can survive in the forest with minimal human intervention.
Several weeks ago, on 26 June, BOS Foundation and the East Kalimantan BKSDA released four orangutans to Kehje Sewen: three males named Komo (21 years), Gino (14), and Zakir (15), and a female named Petak (22). Today, two more orangutans will be released: a male named Lito (25) and a female named Laila (22). The long journey to freedom for all these orangutans takes roughly 48 hours to complete by both land and river. More details on the release carried out on 26 June can be found on the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry’s website.
These two orangutan releases are the 18th and 19th releases conducted by BOS Foundation, and their government partners, in East Kalimantan since 2012, and will bring the total number of orangutans released in the Kehje Sewen Forest to 103.
With this release, Kehje Sewen Forest is fast approaching its maximum carrying capacity of 150 orangutans. Given that roughly 140 orangutans are still undergoing rehabilitation at the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre—many of whom are eligible for release—the BOS Foundation urgently needs to acquire further orangutan release sites in East Kalimantan.
DR. IR. JAMARTIN SIHITE, BOS Foundation CEO, said; "Our commitment to keep wild orangutans in the forest, and to create and safeguard new, viable orangutan populations in East Kalimantan never fades. We continue to carry out the rehabilitation process for rescued orangutans, with the aim of returning them to natural forests once they have completed their rehabilitation. Unfortunately, we are still constrained by the capacity of our existing release sites. We are currently applying for another Ecosystem Restoration Concession to expand the size of our Kehje Sewen Forest release site in East Kalimantan. We sincerely hope that the Provincial Government of East Kalimantan and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry will grant us the permit soon.