The Minister of Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya Bakar, has officially opened Badak Kecil Island, located on one of the islands in the Salat Nusa island cluster, in Pulang Pisau Regency, Central Kalimantan - as the world's first natural reserve island especially for orangutans. The official opening of the sanctuary island, which also coincided with National Flora and Fauna Love Day, also saw the transfer of the first six orangutans that will call Badak Kecil Island Orangutan Sanctuary their new home.
Rehabilitated orangutans must meet certain criteria before they can be reintroduced to the wild: They must be of suitable age, be in good health, possess the appropriate survival skills, and exhibit natural, wild behaviours. At the BOS Foundation's Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, there are a number of orangutans who, despite being of suitable age and in good health, lack the skills and behaviours required to be released to the wild. The under-development in these orangutans, who are categorised as ‘unreleasables’, is the direct result of being kept too long in captivity. However, this does not mean these orangutans are destined for a life behind bars; the BOS Foundation has helped secure a better future for them by working in cooperation with a number of stakeholders to prepare Badak Kecil Island as a special, semi-natural, orangutan sanctuary for ‘unreleasable’ orangutans.
To commemorate National Flora and Fauna Love Day, which falls today (November 5), Badak Kecil Island Orangutan Sanctuary was officially opened by Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar, immediately followed by the transfer of six ‘unreleasable’ orangutans to the new sanctuary.
DR. IR. SITI NURBAYA BAKAR, MSc., the Minister of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) of the Republic of Indonesia welcomed this opportunity by saying; «By Law, the Government of the Republic of Indonesia should ensure that all protected wildlife can live freely and prosperously in their respective habitats. National Flora and Fauna Love Day is the perfect time for these six orangutans to begin this new chapter of their lives on Badak Kecil Island Orangutan Sanctuary, a haven for orangutans that was carefully prepared through cooperation between the BOS Foundation and a number of local and international partner organisations.
Being ‘unreleasable’ does not mean that we should give up on these orangutans. On the contrary, we should be locating safe environments for them to thrive in. The government, in this case the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK), is committed to providing a second chance for these orangutans. We are committed to protecting our environment and the biodiversity found within, as these are valuable assets for our nation.»
H. SUGIANTO SABRAN, the Governor of Central Kalimantan, welcomed the initiative, saying; «Orangutans are an integral part of our lives in Kalimantan, and we support any effort to return orangutans to natural habitats, or those closely resembling wild habitats. The nature of this species is to roam wild and free in the forest. The entire Central Kalimantan Provincial Government office, myself included, fully supports conservation programs carried out by conservation organisations and institutions. Let us join hands to protect our forests and all the natural resources we have.»
Badak Kecil Island is a 104-hectare, forest-covered island in the Salat Nusa Island cluster, which covers a total area of 2,089 hectares. It is jointly managed by the BOS Foundation and PT. Sawit Sumber Mas Sarana (SSMS) Tbk., with the aim of creating semi-natural island facilities for the final stage of the orangutan rehabilitation process (pre-release islands), and creating a sanctuary for orangutans that cannot be released to the wild. The area chosen is considered to have an ideal carrying capacity and well-maintained vegetation; is isolated by river waterways throughout the year; is not identified as having a wild orangutan population; and is ideal for supporting orangutan adaptation and socialization.
VALLAUTHAN SUBRAMINAM, President Director of PT. Sawit Sumbermas Sarana Tbk., added; «Through this collaboration, the BOS Foundation has implemented best practices in terms of orangutan rehabilitation and sanctuary management. Meanwhile, PT. SSMS has the role of providing thousands of hectares of land and infrastructure for conservation activities, including platforms, buildings, and canals to separate the islands.»