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IN INDONESIA’S MONTH OF INDEPENDENCE, SIX MORE ORANGUTANS GAIN FREEDOM IN KEHJE SEWEN


Samboja, East Kalimantan

The BOS Foundation, in cooperation with the East Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), will release six more orangutans from the East Kalimantan Orangutan Reintroduction Program in Samboja Lestari to the natural habitat of the Kehje Sewen Forest in East Kutai Regency. With this release, the population of rehabilitated orangutans in the area will rise to 97.

In commemorating the 73rd anniversary of Indonesia’s Independence, the BOS Foundation, winner of 2017 Animalis Edition World Branding Award, has again worked in cooperation with the East Kalimantan BKSDA to release six rehabilitated orangutans from the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre and Juq Kehje Swen pre-release island in Muara Wahau. This release also marks International Orangutan Day, which falls annually on August 19.

This will be the 17th orangutan release since the first one conducted in the Kehje Sewen Forest, in 2012. It will also take the wild orangutan population reintroduced to this 86,450-hectare Ecosystem Restoration Concession forest, located in Muara Wahau Sub-district, East Kutai Regency, to 97 individuals.

The group of six orangutans to be released includes four males - Mads (8 years old), Riva (7), Bieber (7), and Restu (6); and two females; Menur (11) and Josta (11). All six orangutans were assessed as possessing the skills and behaviours required to survive independently in a wild habitat. The four males will be dispatched from Samboja Lestari, while the two females will be brought from Juq Kehje Swen Island. The group will meet up and assemble prior to entering the Kehje Sewen Forest, following a 20-hour trip from Samboja Lestari.

The carrying capacity of release sites in East Kalimantan is shrinking by the day. This is of great concern to the BOS Foundation. Surveys have estimated that the 86,450-hectare Kehje Sewen Forest can only accommodate up to 150 orangutans. Meanwhile, the number of orangutans undergoing rehabilitation or in our care at Samboja Lestari still stands at around 140 individuals, with most awaiting release. This worrying situation has driven the BOS Foundation to commit more time and energy to seeking alternative, suitable release sites for future orangutan releases.  

DR. IR. JAMARTIN SIHITE, BOS Foundation CEO, said; “We are maintaining our commitment to ensure that the wild orangutan population in East Kalimantan will not become extinct, by putting all the orangutans we rescue through our rehabilitation program and returning them to natural forests. However, our efforts are being hampered by the limited carrying capacity of our existing release sites. The BOS Foundation is in dire need of more support from international and national donors, the local community, the local government, and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to provide additional release areas in East Kalimantan. 

We, the BOS Foundation, cannot stress enough the importance of orangutans to our forests. The orangutan, a Critically Endangered species protected by law, plays a vital role in our forest ecosystems. We need forests to provide us with clean water and air, forest products, and a well-regulated climate. Every single one of us will benefit from the orangutans—the only Asian great ape species—thriving in Indonesian rainforests. We need their presence in our forests, and therefore, we must work together to ensure their survival." 

IR. SUNANDAR TRIGUNAJASA N., Head of the East Kalimantan BKSDA, said; “The East Kalimantan BKSDA continues to work with the BOS Foundation, not only to rescue orangutans, but to release them back to their natural habitat. Our partnership has saved and returned hundreds of orangutans back to the forests of East Kalimantan. However, great conservation work should not be left to just two institutions. We must involve the private sector, which historically has had a limited role in the conservation effort.  

The challenge ahead is to involve more parties and replicate our cooperative work in other conservation areas. We are all stakeholders in environment conservation – me, you, all of us. Anybody can help by reporting or stopping attempts to hunt, catch, kill, or keep wild animals that are protected by law, including orangutans. These animals are a vital part of forest ecosystems. Let's protect our precious forests and the biodiversity within.» 

Man-made Juq Kehje Swen Island, where Josta and Menur underwent the pre-release stage of rehabilitation, resulted from the partnership between the BOS Foundation and PT. Nusaraya Agro Sawit (PT. NAS). This 82.84-hectare island, located in Muara Wahau Sub-district, has a good quality forest, is isolated by a year-long surrounding body of water, and supports the adaptation process and socialisation for orangutans. In terms of food availability, the island has the capacity to carry around 40 orangutans.  

IR. MARTUSIN YAPRIADI, Director of PT. Nusaraya Agro Sawit, said; «PT. NAS strives to achieve sustainable environmental governance through partnerships with the BOS Foundation. This partnership has produced an island built specifically to support the pre-release process, an important stage in the orangutan rehabilitation journey. We hope to be able to show that businesses can work in harmony with conservation organisations to create a better future for all.»

This particular release also involves support from PT. Bank Central Asia (BCA) Tbk., which has also participated in various other conservation activities conducted by the BOS Foundation.

TAMY TASLIM, Head of The Balikpapan BCA Main Branch Office (KCU) said, «The existence of orangutans amongst our lives has undeniably given us various benefits we do not even realise at times. One of them being an important role in forest regeneration by spreading seeds from fruits they consume. Orangutans are legally protected, but they are still being forced out of their habitat. We therefore, feel obliged to help preserve orangutans—truly one of God’s most amazing creations. We realise that releasing orangutans back to the wild is so important, and is the culmination of years of dedicated rehabilitation work.

BCA believes that wildlife such as orangutans should live free in their natural habitat, due to their substantial benefit towards human lives. In order to achieve that, we tirelessly educate and raise public awareness, so that they can participate and create a sustainable environmental conservation effort,. Through this particular support, BCA hopes to see that the Indonesian people can gain more awareness on the importance of the conservation of the orangutan and their habitat.»


The BOS Foundation would like to express their deepest gratitude to the East Kalimantan BKSDA, the East Kalimantan Provincial Government, the Regional Governments of East Kutai and Kutai Kartanegara Regencies, and the people living in these regencies. The BOS Foundation is also grateful for the moral and financial support provided by PT. NAS, PT. BCA Tbk., Citilink, our global partners, especially BOS Switzerland, as well as individual donors and conservation organisations around the world concerned with the orangutan conservation effort in Indonesia. 

Editors Note :

Paulina Laurensia
Communications Specialist
Email: pauline@orangutan.or.id
Mobile: +62 813 4733 7003

Nico Hermanu
Communications Officer
Email: nico@orangutan.or.id
Mobile: +62 811 276 7957

Selvi Indah Ria
Sustainability PT. NAS
Email: selvi.ria@palmaserasih.co.id
Telephon: +6221 2854 6080

PT. Bank Central Asia Tbk.
Divisi Sekretariat Perusahaan – Sub Divisi Komunikasi Korporasi
Biro Hubungan masyarakat
Telephon: (021) 2358-8000
Email: humas@bca.co.id

The press release is available to download here:



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