LEARNING TO LIVE WITH OUR FOREST-DWELLING NEIGHBOURS
Human population growth and the expansion of development into forest regions has the potential to lead to human-orangutan conflict.
On 6 December 2022, the Balikpapan BKSDA received a report from an employee of PT. Balikpapan Wana Lestari (BWL) via the Regional Conservation Section (SKW) 3 of Balikpapan call centre that an orangutan had visited the workers' camp and interacted with staff over four consecutive days. The orangutan was suspected to be female and appeared to be pregnant, according to the statement. In response to the report, a joint team from the Balikpapan BKSDA and the BOS Foundation prepared to leave for Muara Toyu in Long Kali District, Paser Regency, East Kalimantan.
The team left the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre the following day and headed to the rescue site, arriving in the evening. Our team, together with a security team from PT. BWL, discussed and formulated an action plan for the next day. According to the latest information obtained from PT. BWL, the orangutan in question had been seen in the afternoons making nests around the workers’ camp and had been begging for food in the mornings. The workers had given her rice and instant noodles.
On 8 December, at around 6:30 a.m., the orangutan showed up again at camp. Dr. Ni Made Ayudita, assisted by technicians and BKSDA staff, was able to anaesthetise the orangutan, so she could be moved and undergo a medical examination. Based on examination results, the female was identified as Siti, an orangutan who was released on 2 November 1997 in Sungai Wain.
Briefing before Rescue (Photo credit: Fachmi)
Orangutan Healty Check (Photo credit: Fachmi)
Ready to Take Siti to Samboja Lestari Rehabilitation Center (Photo credit: Fachmi)
Transferring Siti to Quarantine Cage (Photo credit: Fachmi)
Siti on Quarantine Cage (Photo credit: Fachmi)
Siti (Photo credit: Fachmi)
She was in good physical shape, had no wounds, and was estimated to weigh around 40 kg. Siti was not pregnant, as had been reported, and was easily identified due to the presence of a microchip that contained information proving she was a resident of the original BOS Foundation East Kalimantan rehabilitation and reintroduction project in the 90s. In the 25 years since her release, she lived mostly independently, but occasionally entered residential areas and had once before been translocated to Meratus.
Following the medical examination, our team rushed Siti to the rehabilitation centre and placed her in the Socialisation C enclosure, where she immediately fed upon the fruit offered to her. Due to her prolonged exposure to humans, she will now undergo a quarantine period of three months, during which she will monitored and observed daily by our technicians. Siti will then undergo a routine health check and other examinations before hopefully being released back into the forest.