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October 27, 2016
We are working tirelessly throughout our 25th anniversary year, and together with the East Kalimantan BKSDA we released five more orangutans to the Kehje Sewen Forest on October 18.
One of the five, a male named Kent, was this time re-released to the Kehje Sewen Forest after first being released on March 22, 2014, and brought back to Samboja Lestari two months later after he was found with serious injuries following an altercation with another male. After two additional years of rehabilitation to recover and regain his survival skills, Kent joined Rafli, Jamur, J-Lo and Saprol in our 9th release to the Kehje Sewen Forest!
Like all BOS Foundation releases, appropriate safety measures were put in place to ensure a safe and successful outcome. After being sedated by our veterinarian team, the five orangutans were carefully transferred to individual transport cages and loaded onto cars, ready to travel to the Kehje Sewen Forest, in East Kutai and Kutai Kertanegara regencies.
Jamur, J-Lo, Rafli, Saprol, and Kent are sedated in the Samboja Lestari quarantine complex prior to being transported to freedom
Sedated orangutans transferred to individual transport cages
Convoy of cars carrying precious cargo departs from Samboja Lestari
Release Ceremony at Governor’s Office
Outside the front lobby of the East Kalimantan Governor’s office, an official ceremony was held to mark the release of the five orangutans. Several VIPs attended the ceremony, including BOS Foundation CEO Jamartin Sihite; the Governor of East Kalimantan Province, Prof. H. Awang Faroek Ishak; head of the East Kalimantan BKSDA, Sunandar Trigunajasa; Ministrial Special Envoy for Environmental and Forestry Media Communication, Nova Harivan; expert staff member for the Governor of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, Professor Marlon Ivanhoe Aipassa; and head of the Sub-Directorate of Species Preservation from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Puja Utama.
Left to right – Sunandar Trigunajasa, Nova Havian, Awang Faroek, Marlon Ivanhoe, Jamartin Sihite, Puja Utama
Jamartin Sihite gives a speech to VIPs and guests
The three male and two female orangutans took a 12-hour road trip from the Governor’s office to Muara Wahau, the capital of East Kutai Regency.
Governor Awang Faroek Ishak at the release ceremony
The team stopped every two hours to check on the orangutans
Obstacles Faced by the Release Team
The rain didn’t let up throughout the entire trip, which added to the complexities of transporting orangutans. On the last leg of the trip – through an ex-timber concession area – the track was muddy and extremely slippery, forcing the team to pull and push bogged cars free to reach the end of the road (the last place reachable by car after a gruelling 5-hour trip from Muara Wahau).
Our dedicated team worked tirelessly to ensure the rehabilitated orangutans got to the release points
At the end of the road, members of the Wehean Dayak tribe performed a traditional dance ritual and ceremony to bless the release.
Wehean Dayak tribal dancers
Team members faced further challenges when they had to navigate on foot, a 200-metre, steep trail in wet and slippery conditions in order to reach the banks of the Telen River. They then had to cross the flooding river and push a truck from Nles Mamse Camp waiting across the river to carry the transport cages to the release points.
The final leg of the trip was completed by late afternoon, and we opened the cages to release the orangutans at around 5 p.m.
As it was getting dark and the rain was still falling, the PRM team decided to build a flying camp near the release points rather than risk walking back to Nles Mamse Camp. This allowed the team to start early nest-to-nest monitoring of the newly-released five.
With this 9th release from Samboja Lestari, the total number of orangutans released by the BOS Foundation to the Kehje Sewen Forest since 2012 now stands at 49 individuals and in Central Kalimantan we have released 185. In celebration of our 25th anniversary, we plan to release a total 250 orangutans back to Kalimantan’s forests by the end of this year.
Thank you to all parties who generously supported this release, and who continue to promote and aid the orangutan conservation effort!
Text by: BOS Foundation HQ Communication Team
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