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[PRESS RELEASE] BOS Foundation Sets Free an Orangutan Living in an Enclosure for 24 Years


Celebrating World Environment Day which falls on June 5, Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation is forging ahead with our 2017 #OrangutanFreedom campaign, and releases an adult male named Romeo from his enclosure onto a pre-release island located in the BOS Foundation Samboja Lestari East Kalimantan Orangutan Reintroduction Program (Samboja Lestari). If Romeo is able to adapt well on the pre-release island, we can assess his potential for release to the wild.

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Samboja, East Kalimantan, June 7, 2017. Celebrating World Environment Day which occurred two days ago, June 5, 2017, BOS Foundation is freeing an adult male by the name of Romeo, from his enclosure to live on a pre-release island in Samboja Lestari.

Currently there are seven pre-release islands in Samboja Lestari, with four more islands under construction. The total carrying capacity of those seven islands is around 30 orangutans. Every orangutan who completes Forest School will be placed onto one of these islands prior to being released to natural forest. Here they will live in an open environment whilst technicians monitor and observe their progress and adaptation. These islands are also used for those orangutans who have spent years living in enclosure complexes to assess their potential for release. On Island #5, Romeo will be placed with two females previously transferred, Fani and Isti.

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Island #5

Romeo is one of the oldest orangutans in Samboja Lestari. In 1993, 6-year old Romeo was repatriated from Taiwan and has been progressing through rehabilitation in Samboja Lestari ever since.

Ir. Jamartin Sihite, BOS Foundation CEO said, “2017 is the year of #OrangutanFreedom, and we have released 13 orangutans to the Kehje Sewen Forest in East Kutai this year alone. After Eid, we will be ready to release more orangutans into the forest. Today, we are setting free one of our orangutans who has been living in Samboja Lestari for years, so he can live in an open environment, after 24 years of living in one of our enclosures. Today he will move to the pre-release island, and once we can gauge his progress in a more natural environment, we can take the necessary steps to prepare him for true freedom in the forest.”

“Our orangutan reintroduction plans were halted for 10-years because there was no forest available to accomodate our ex-rehabilitated orangutans. This led to the accumulation of hundreds of orangutans who share a similar fate to Romeo, waiting for the opportunity of freedom. We have overcome this tremendous challenge, but the forest in East Kalimantan that BOS Foundation now manages – Kehje Sewen - is still unable to accomodate the other 100 orangutans we plan to release. We need support to secure new forest areas. We all need the forest for clean water, oxygen and a well-regulated climate, so we need orangutans living in the forest, since they help improve quality of the forest. To keep them safe in the forest we keep the forest from being destroyed.”

Ir. Sunandar Trigunajasa N., Head of East Kalimantan BKSDA said, “In order to commemorate World Environment Day, this effort to move an orangutan from an enclosed facility into an open one by BOS Foundation displays real action. We can see that orangutans must be able to live freely and safely in the wild, however, considering their current ‘critically endangered’ conservation status, all of us, including myself and my staff, in East Kalimantan BKSDA must step up and improve efforts to conserve orangutans and habitat. Today we move one male, who joins two females moved the day before, and hopefully in the future, we can move several more to a bigger pre-release island and then from the island into the forest. The quicker we move, the better chance we have of improving the conservation prospects for orangutans in their natural habitat. We need to work together to make this happen."

Romeo’s transfer along with two females into the pre-release island in Samboja Lestari has only been possible throughcooperationwith theEast Kalimantan BKSDA,and our partner organisations such as BOS Switzerland, BOS Germany, BOS Australia, and The Great Projects. BOS Foundation is also extremely grateful for the support by individual donors, other partners, and organizations from around the world concerned with orangutan conservation in Indonesia.

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Contacts:

Nico Hermanu

Communication Staff

Email: nico@orangutan.or.id 

Suwardi

Samboja Lestari Communication Staff

Email: ardy@orangutan.or.id

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Editor’s Note:

ABOUT THE BOS FOUNDATION

Founded In 1991, the BOS Foundation is a non-profit Indonesian organization dedicated to the conservation of Bornean orangutans and their habitats, working together with local communities, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry of the Republic of Indonesia and international partner organizations.

Currently, the BOS Foundation is working to rehabilitate more than 700 orangutans with thesupport of 440 highly dedicated staff and experts in the fields of primatology, biodiversity, ecology, forest rehabilitation, agroforestry, community empowerment, communications, education, and orangutan welfare. For further information, please visit www.orangutan.or.id.

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