Seventeen orangutans, all of whom have completed a lengthy rehabilitation process, will soon return to the natural habitat of the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park thanks to a collaborative effort by 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. The release of these seventeen orangutans will increase the total population of reintroduced orangutans in the national park to 152 individuals. Furthermore, one wild orangutan will be translocated to TNBBBR.
Nyaru Menteng, Central Kalimantan, 19 November 2019. Seventeen orangutans, all of whom have completed a long rehabilitation process at BOS Foundation’s Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, will soon be released to the wild. This release is the result of a collaborative effort involving the Central Kalimantan BKSDA, the TNBBBR Authority, USAID LESTARI, and the BOS Foundation. It will be the 18th orangutan release to take place in TNBBBR, in Katingan Regency since the first BOS Foundation release in the national park was conducted in August 2016.
In addition to the release of this group of rehabilitant orangutans, one fully flanged, adult male orangutan will be translocated. This 20-year-old wild orangutan was rescued just 2 months ago from an oil palm plantation in Pulang Pisafau Regency, Central Kalimantan. Due to his advanced age and wild disposition, he was not in need of rehabilitation and will instead be directly moved to the safe forests of TNBBBR.
IR. ADIB GUNAWAN, Head of the Central Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Agency BKSDA, said: "The forest and land fires this year were quite worrisome, but thanks to the hard work of all involved parties, we have been able to prevent further devastation. We are proud to be working with committed stakeholders like the BOS Foundation and USAID LESTARI to preserve orangutans, a key species protected by law. This collaboration, strengthened by the private sector and local government, has succeeded in returning hundreds of orangutans to natural forests."
"Efforts to preserve the environment need to be supported by everyone. Anybody can participate, by reporting any attempts at hunting, capturing, killing, or domesticating animals protected by the law, like orangutans. As a key species, orangutans play an important role in forest ecosystems. We must protect our forests and the biodiversity within them."
AGUNG NUGROHO, S.SI., M.A., Head of the Baka Bukit Raya National Park Authority (BTNBBBR), added: "Based on a pre-release survey, the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park forest has everything needed to support a sustainable orangutan population, with the backing of adequate security and area management. Releasing rehabilitated orangutans to TNBBBR is a positive step in ensuring the preservation of Bornean orangutans, which are currently classified as ‘critically endangered’ by the IUCN."
"In TNBBBR, routine security patrols are conducted. We hope that by taking this measure, released orangutans can live safely in the forest, and form a new and sustainable wild orangutan population."
ROSENDA CHANDRA KASIH, USAID LESTARI’s Central Kalimantan Landscape Coordinator, said: "USAID LESTARI is committed to working closely with the Indonesian Government to protect its natural environment. The Bornean orangutan is a key species that is not only protected by law, but one that also is critically endangered. Efforts to release Bornean orangutans into protected habitats have our full support, to help support the Indonesian Government in protecting and preserving its forests and the biodiversity found within.”
DR. IR. JAMARTIN SIHITE, MSc., BOS Foundation CEO, explained: "We are conducting a total of three separate trips to release these 17 orangutans and translocate one wild individual to TNBBBR. Today’s trip is bound for the Bemban watershed, and two trips will be carried out next week are destined for the Hiran watershed. We hope that this effort helps to better distribute the population of rehabilitated orangutans in this particular forest."
"The collaborative effort with three extraordinary stakeholders - namely the Central Kalimantan BKSDA, the TNBBBR Authority, and USAID Lestari - to organise this release in TNBBBR has helped relieve pressure at the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre from the growing number of orangutans ready for release. However, the release sites that we currently manage are inching closer to maximum capacity. In Central Kalimantan, we release orangutans in Bukit Batikap Conservation Forest and the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park, but these will not be sufficient to hold all the orangutans still awaiting release."