The Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation and the East Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) will release four more rehabilitated orangutans to the Kehje Sewen Forest in East Kutai Regency, East Kalimantan, in their fifth orangutan release in East Kalimantan this year.
The BOS Foundation is again working together with the East Kalimantan BKSDA to release rehabilitated orangutans back to natural forest habitats. Today, four orangutans - all of whom have undertaken years of rehabilitation at the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre - will be released in the Kehje Sewen Forest, an 86,450-hectare Ecosystem Restoration Concession forest located in East Kutai Regency.
The northern part of the Kehje Sewen Forest is where the BOS Foundation conducted its very first orangutan release back in 2012. Reaching the release points in this portion of forest involves a long, arduous journey along rugged dirt tracks, which span great distances. The team for this release will make two overnight rest stops to break up the long trip.
This latest release will involve four adult orangutans (two males and two females): Randy (27), Arman (22), Marlies (20), and Sumirah (25). Each of the four orangutans in the group has undergone an extensive rehabilitation, between 16 and 22 years in length, at the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. All are ready to enjoy true freedom in a wild, natural habitat.
IR. SUNANDAR TRIGUNAJASA N., M.M., Head of the East Kalimantan BKSDA, said; «In 2019, the collective work undertaken by the BKSDA and the BOS Foundation has generated an intense series of orangutan releases. So far, cooperation between the two this year has resulted in five successive releases, with 18 orangutans being returned to natural habitats.»
Actually, this number is far from ideal, considering that there are still many orangutans being cared for at the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. We desperately need support and participation from all parties, because we all benefit when orangutans – an important umbrella species in the forest ecosystem – are given the chance to protect and maintain their forest habitats. I demand that people stop capturing, killing, and keeping orangutans as pets, for those acts are not only illegal, but are also putting our environment in serious danger. Let’s protect nature.»
DR. IR. JAMARTIN SIHITE, MSC., BOS Foundation CEO, said, «Today we will release four more orangutans from Samboja Lestari to the northern part of the Kehje Sewen Forest. This will be our fifth release to this particular forest this year, and we expect this number to grow as we still have many orangutans in our rehabilitation centres that are ready to be released.
That being said, the Kehje Sewen Forest is fast approaching its maximum capacity for accommodating rehabilitated orangutans, which is around 150 individuals. To date, we have released 115 orangutans there, which means there is only space for 35 more. We urgently need to find new forest release areas under the IUPHHK-RE scheme, and we need support from all parties to acquire this.»
This release is being supported by private-sector parties concerned with orangutan and habitat conservation in Indonesia, including PT. Bank Central Asia Tbk. and PT. Wartsila Indonesia, an international electric company with a long history of operations in Indonesia.