THE 400TH ORANGUTAN RELEASED BY BOS FOUNDATION AND BKSDA INTO THE FOREST SINCE 2012
Samboja, East Kalimantan
Another group of rehabilitated orangutans will be reintroduced to the forest in a collaborative effort between the Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation and the East Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), for the third time within 30 days. This is a milestone release, as it involves the 400th orangutan released since renewed efforts started in 2012, when the two parties continued collaborations to reintroduce orangutans to East and Central Kalimantan Forests.
The BOS Foundation, in collaboration with the East Kalimantan BKSDA, is continuing to release orangutans, following the completion of the rehabilitation process at the BOS Foundation’s Samboja Lestari Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, to the Kehje Sewen Forest, an Ecosystem Restoration Concession (ERC) area covering 86,450 hectares located in East Kutai Regency. This will be the third release within the last 30 days. Four orangutans have started their journey today, and their release will increase the population of reintroduced orangutans in the Kehje Sewen Forest to 107.
DR. IR. JAMARTIN SIHITE, BOS Foundation CEO, said; «This year, the BOS Foundation feels the need to further increase orangutan release efforts and reintroduce more orangutans who have completed the rehabilitation process. So, we are again collaborating with the East Kalimantan BKSDA to release more orangutans to the ERC forest that we manage in the East Kutai Regency. We need even more release forests like this to accommodate the 500 orangutans we are still caring for in our rehabilitation centres. In our East Kalimantan centre alone there are about 140 orangutans, and in our Central Kalimantan centre there are over 360, with most ready for release. Unfortunately, the forest release sites that we currently use are approaching their carrying capacity.»
«We sincerely hope that our efforts to obtain more orangutan release sites through the ERC scheme will receive support from all parties, especially the central and regional governments, so that the hundreds of orangutans currently awaiting freedom in our rehabilitation centres can soon be released. This, in addition to stricter law enforcement and increased public education on the laws that protect orangutans and prohibit their use in captivity as pets, would drastically help orangutan conservation efforts.»
«Anyone can help. If you have any information on captive orangutans, please report it to your local police authorities or the local BKSDA.»
Since June, together the BOS Foundation and the East Kalimantan BKSDA, have released a total of six orangutans to the Kehje Sewen Forest: four males and two females, ranging in age from 14 to 25. Today, four more orangutans - Elder, Anna Friel, Mori, and Edgar - will be transported on a 24-hour journey over land and via river into the southern portion of the Kehje Sewen Forest. One of the orangutans, Mori, has completed her pre-release rehabilitation on Juq Kehje Swen Island in Muara Wahau, East Kutai Regency.
Pre-release Juq Kehje Swen Island, where Mori underwent the final stage of rehabilitation, over a period of 10 months, is a manmade island built through a partnership between the BOS Foundation and PT. Nusaraya Agro Sawit (PT. NUSA). This island is part of an 82.84-hectare expanse of forested land located in Muara Wahau District, which still possesses quality forests. The island is isolated by the river surrounding it and is suitable to support the adaptation and socialisation process for rehabilitated orangutans. In terms of food availability, it can accommodate about 40 orangutans.
While this release increases the reintroduced orangutan population in the Kehje Sewen Forest ERC to 107 individuals, the total number of orangutans released by the BOS Foundation Orangutan Reintroduction Program will today reach 402!
IR. SUNANDAR TRIGUNAJASA N. M.M., Head of the East Kalimantan BKSDA, stated; «In the past few weeks, the East Kalimantan BKSDA, in collaboration with the BOS Foundation, have not only managed to save a baby orangutan in a handover from the local community, but have also released a number of orangutans from a long rehabilitation process and into the forests of their natural habitat. In releasing four more orangutans today, 10 individuals have been released back into the forest since June. On 26 June, we released four orangutans, and on 8 July, two more followed.»
«It is no small feat, as it requires significant cooperation amongst stakeholders, but conservation requires a huge effort that, in turn, benefits us all. Governments, communities, and mass organisations, including the private sector, must actively support each other in continuing efforts to conserve natural resources in East Kalimantan, including orangutans and other wildlife. Protected by law, orangutans play a major role in the forest ecosystem. Let's protect our forests and the biodiversity within them.»
The BOS Foundation would like to express our deepest gratitude to the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the East Kalimantan BKSDA, the East Kalimantan Provincial Government, the Regional Governments of the East Kutai and Kutai Kartanegara Regencies, and the residents of said regencies, for their support, assistance, and understanding of our orangutan conservation work. These releases were made possible by the generous financial support of BOS Switzerland; and our other official global partners (BOS Australia, BOS Germany, BOS UK, and Save the Orangutan), private sector parties, including PT. NUSA, and supporters around the world who supported the rescue and rehabilitation of these orangutans, and the wider orangutan conservation effort in Borneo.
Editors Note :
Djati Witjaksono Hadi
Head of Public Relations Bureau of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry