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[PRESS RELEASE] BOS Foundation and Central Kalimantan BKSDA Release More Orangutans to Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park

To mark World Habitat Day, which falls on October 3, the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOS Foundation) and the Central Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) together will release eight orangutans to the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park. Since 2012, the BOS Foundation has returned 222 orangutans to natural forest habitats in East and Central Kalimantan.

Nyaru Menteng, Central Kalimantan, October 5, 2016. The BOS Foundation aims to reach a target of 250 orangutans released back to the wild by the end of this year, which is the foundation’s 25th Anniversary. In collaboration with the Central Kalimantan BKSDA, the BOS Foundation will soon transport eight more orangutans from the BOS Foundation Orangutan Reintroduction Program in Nyaru Menteng (Nyaru Menteng) to predetermined release points in the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park (TNBBBR), in Katingan Regency, Central Kalimantan.

This will be the second release conducted in the TNBBBR by the BOS Foundation and the Central Kalimantan BKSDA – the first involved 10 orangutans released to the national park in mid-August this year.

The eight rehabilitated orangutans to be released include five females and three males. The release team will transport the eight directly from Nyaru Menteng to the TNBBBR, which is located 10 hours away via land and river routes in two separate departures, on October 5 and 7.

We still have 500 orangutans undergoing rehabilitation in Nyaru Menteng, therefore it is crucial to reintroduce those orangutans who are ready for release at the earliest possible moment.

Dr. Ir. Jamartin Sihite, BOS Foundation CEO said, “Even now, the BOS Foundation is still receiving orangutans rescued from land areas destroyed by last year’s forest fires. This habitat destruction even drove the IUCN to reclassify the conservation status of the Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) to ‘critically endangered’. This means we are racing against the clock to find suitable forest areas for releasing orangutans from our rehabilitation centres. We cannot work alone; the BOS Foundation desperately needs support and commitment from both central and provincial governments to provide suitable habitats, and to enforce the laws that prevent habitat destruction. We cannot allow this species to become extinct while we still have a chance to make a difference.”

Head of Central Kalimantan’s Conservation of Natural Resources Agency (BKSDA), Dr. Nandang Prihadi, S.Hut., M.Sc., happily supported the event by saying, “Considering IUCN’s reclassification of the conservation status of Bornean orangutans, which are only a step away from becoming extinct, the BKSDA strongly believes we need to work harder to conserve the remaining natural habitats and the biodiversity within them. This is on our collective shoulders – the government, its citizens, the private sectors, and non-governmental organizations. Over the years, the BKSDA has collaborated with institutions and organizations working on conservation, and this IUCN conservation status change serves as a reminder to us all to work harder.”

The TNBBBR is the second location in Central Kalimantan to accommodate the release of rehabilitated orangutans from Nyaru Menteng. Since 2012 to date, the BOS Foundation has released 167 orangutans to the Bukit Batikap Conservation Forest (Batikap). Batikap has almost reached its carrying capacity, which is a maximum of 200 individuals. The TNBBBR was deemed a suitable release location for rehabilitated orangutans because: (1) it is located under 900 meters above sea level; (2) is filled with an abundance of natural foods; (3) has no wild population of orangutans in the area; and (4) is safeguarded from future exploitation. There are two blocks we will utilise in the TNBBR – the Sei Bimban and Sei Mahalut blocks, with a total area of 27,000 hectares and the capacity to sustain 318 orangutans.

Head of the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park Central Kalimantan, Ir. Bambang Sukendro, M.M., who greatly supports the effort, says, “Collaboration between the BOS Foundation and the Central Kalimantan BKSDA to conserve orangutans and their habitats through releasing rehabilitated orangutans in the TNBBBR is immensely positive, especially considering there is no wild orangutan population in the TNBBBR. According to surveys, the area is very suitable. We will conduct monitoring of the 10 orangutans released in August, and the eight more today, to gauge their adaptation, food availability, and interactions with other species. Monitoring will also determine the possibility of encounters with local communities. In the long term, we hope these orangutans will establish a new viable population in Central Kalimantan.”

The BOS Foundation acknowledges that conservation efforts are only sustainable through good collaboration with, and support from, all parties, including the government, and the public and private sectors. The BOS Foundation works to establish cooperation with the Indonesian government at all levels; with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the Central Kalimantan BKSDA, the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park Office, the Central Kalimantan Provincial Office, and the Katingan Regency Office.

This release is supported by USAID LESTARI in collaboration with other stakeholders, including the people of Katingan Regency, as well as individual donors and conservation organizations around the world, including Save the Orangutan, Zoos Victoria and the Commonwealth of Australia, through the Department of Environment and Energy. The BOS Foundation would also like to thank PT Kayu Waja for their support and request participation from other members of the business community to help support nature conservation.

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Contact:

Paulina Laurensia

Communications Specialist

Email: pauline@orangutan.or.id

Monterado Fridman (Agung)

Coordinator of Communications and Education Division of Nyaru Menteng

Email: agungm@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 natural habitats, working together with local communities, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry of the Republic of Indonesia, and international partner organizations.

The BOS Foundation currently has more than 700 orangutans in two rehabilitation centres, with support from 400 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.

ABOUT USAID LESTARI

USAID LESTARI is a collaborative project between the governments of the United States of America and the Republic of Indonesia. USAID LESTARI fully supports the efforts made by the Indonesian government to reduce greenhouse emissions and increase conservation of the biodiversity of forests and mangrove ecosystems rich in carbon storage.

USAID LESTARI focuses on areas that all have similarly unscathed primary forest areas, high carbon deposits and a rich biodiversity. These regions include Aceh (the Leuser landscape), Central Kalimantan (the Katingan-Kahayan landscape), and Papua (the Lorentz Lowlands, Mappi-Bouven Digoel, Sarmi and Cyclops landscapes).

NYARU MENTENG 14th ORANGUTAN RELEASE CANDIDATE PROFILES

To mark World Habitat Day, which falls on October 3, the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOS Foundation) and the Central Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) together will release eight orangutans to the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park. Here are the release candidates’ profile

SEMI-WILD

Semi-wild orangutans are those who, at the time of rescue, have previously encountered humans yet have retained sufficient natural behaviours and vital skills to survive alone in the wild.

1. USRO

Usro came to Nyaru Menteng on February 13, 2006, after she was rescued from a Tuanan resident of Kapuas Regency in Central Kalimantan. She was 2.5 years of age at the time, weighed 6 kilograms, and still exhibited some wild behaviour.

After passing a quarantine period, Usro was placed in Nyaru Menteng’s Socialization Complex before being transferred to Kaja Island on November 19, 2014, so we could assess how much wild behaviour she had maintained.

During her time on Kaja, Usro socialized well with her fellow island inhabitants. She has also maintained a dislike for human presence and will kiss-squeak and shake tree branches or throw twigs whenever she encounters people.

Usro is now 13 years old and weighs 42 kilograms. After 10 years of rehabilitation, she is ready to live in the wilds of the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park.

2. SINCAN

Sincan came to Nyaru Menteng in September 2004 when she was 3 years old, after being rescued by a joint team from the Central Kalimantan BKSDA and BOS Foundation Nyaru Menteng. She was found in an oil palm concession area in Parenggean village of Central Kalimantan’s East Kotawaringin Regency, weighing 12 kilograms and still exhibiting wild behaviours.

After passing through quarantine, Sincan was placed in Nyaru Menteng’s Socialization Complex and moved to Kaja pre-release island on November 19, 2004. As a dominant female, Sincan rules the feeding platform making sure she has access to plenty of fruit. This oval-faced beauty is identified by her bulky frame and blackish-brown facial skin.

Ever-observant Sincan is now 16 years of age and weighs 42.1 kilograms. She will soon be released to the natural forest of the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park.

3. KUMBA

Kumba was rescued from an oil palm plantation area in the Antang Kalang Sub-Regency of East Kotawaringin Regency, in Central Kalimantan, on August 24, 2007. He arrived at Nyaru Menteng when he was 4.5 years old and weighed 8 kilograms, with a wound to his left eye and cuts on both palms of his hands. At the time, he still exhibited wild behaviour.

Kumba was placed on Kaja Island to begin the pre-release phase on November 19, 2014. Kumba, who dislikes human presence, is very good at foraging and selecting natural foods found on the island. He prefers to spend time alone.

Small-statured Kumba has thin, blackish-brown hair and a reddish-brown beard. Now 14 years old and weighing 27.1 kilograms, he will soon regain his freedom when he is released to the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park.

4. ANGGI

Anggi was rescued through a joint-team effort between the Central Kalimantan BKSDA and the BOS Foundation on October 21, 2005, after being found in an oil palm plantation in Parenggean village of East Kotawaringin Regency, Central Kalimantan. She came to Nyaru Menteng in poor condition when she was 3.5 years old, weighing only 6 kilograms.

The team had found Anggi placed under an old outdoor table; she was soaking wet and covered in mud, and her hands and hip had been bound with plastic twine. A medical examination revealed she was dehydrated and had twine wounds on her wrists that were showing signs of infection. She was promptly taken to the BOS Foundation Nyaru Menteng clinic for immediate treatment.

After a period of intensive treatment and quarantine under the care of the Nyaru Menteng medical team, Anggi joined other orangutans within our rehabilitation center. She rejected contact with babysitters and technicians, and was moved to our Socialization Complex. Petite Anggi has distinctive reddish-brown hair and now 14 years old and weighing 34.2 kilograms, it is time for Anggi to be returned to natural forest in the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park.

4. IJUM

Ijum was rescued from a local resident in Palangka Raya, Central Kalimantan, on September 13, 2007. She was 2 years old and weighed 9 kilograms when she arrived at Nyaru Menteng, and exhibited wild behaviour. On December 20, 2012, she was relocated to Bangamat pre-release island.

Ijum, who has long and thick reddish-brown hair, will kiss squeak to express her displeasure when she senses human presence. Ijum is easily identified by her black face and small eyelids.

With the skills she has acquired over her nine years of rehabilitation at Nyaru Menteng, Ijum – now 12 years old and weighing 56.8 kilograms – is ready to live in the forests of Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park.

Rehabilitant

Rehabilitant orangutans are those rescued at a young age and/or confiscated from people who have kept them in captivity. These orangutans have limited knowledge and skills required to live independently in the forest, and therefore need to undergo a lengthy period of rehabilitation.

1. PLUTO

Pluto came to Nyaru Menteng on December 29, 2002, after being rescued from a local resident of Kapuas Regency who had kept him as a pet for two years. He was 2.5 years old and came to us in a critical condition – he was severely underweight at 3.8 kilograms, had multiple wounds to the face and chest, and a large skin graze on his arms and legs. His right eyelid had congealed from an infection and could not fully close, and his skin was dark from severe dehydration. He had irregular breathing, a swollen liver and very short, thin hair.

Pluto received treatment for five years under the care of our dedicated Nyaru Menteng medical team before he was finally well enough to join Forest School and begin the long process through rehabilitation. On February 28, 2015, Pluto was moved to Bangamat Island to complete his learning.

During his time on Bangamat, Pluto has turned into an extraordinary explorer and a good forager. Now 14 years old and weighing 58.7 kilograms, Pluto has a bulky frame and thick, long blackish-brown hair. His sharp gaze and blackish-coloured face decorated with thick golden beard make him a striking figure indeed. With the skillset he has developed, he is now ready to live in the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park.

2. IBUT

Ibut came to Nyaru Menteng on November 15, 2006, after being rescued by a joint-team from the Central Kalimantan BKSDA and the BOS Foundation Nyaru Menteng. Ibut had been kept as a pet by a local resident from Parigi village, Katingan Regency, Central Kalimantan. Upon arrival he was 2.5 years old, weighed 6 kilograms and was in general good health.

However, on July 29, 2011, some of Ibut’s fingers had to be amputated from the knuckle down to stop an infection from spreading. He spent a period in intensive care before being transferred to Bangamat Island on December 21, 2012. During his time on the pre-release island, Ibut has proven he is capable of competing with others and now shows displeasure toward humans.

This handsome, blackish-brown haired male is easily identified by his oval-shaped face, dark temple and thin beard. Now 13 years old and weighing 49 kilograms, Ibut will no doubt expand the on survival skills he has learned over 10 years of rehabilitation when he moves to the natural forests of the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park.

3. Gurita

Gurita was rescued on April 4, 2006, when she was 4 years old and weighed 14 kilograms. She had been kept as a pet illegally by a local resident in Parenggean village, East Kotawaringin Regency, Central Kalimantan.

Following her quarantine period, Gurita joined other orangutans and started the rehabilitation process through Forest School. She completed Forest School on June 29, 2013, and moved to Kaja pre-release island, where she befriended Beda and Chanel. Gurita, who has long and thick dark-brown hair, is alert but not aggressive and likes to be alone. During her time on Kaja, she has proven to be a great explorer and forager, and has a strong dislike for human presence.

Gurita is now 14 years old and weighs 59 kilograms. She has dark skin, a bulky figure, and round face framed by a fringe. After 10 years of rehabilitation, Gurita will soon be free in the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park.

4 October

We are proud to be one of the approved great ape centres taking part in this years Great Apes Giving Day!

Organised by the Arcus Foundation in partnership with the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), Great Apes Giving Day is taking place on Tuesday 4 October – that is only 4 days away! Over 30 great ape sanctuaries are taking part and through this 24-hour online giving campaign hosted by Razoo, you can pledge your donation to support our work in rescuing and caring for Bornean orangutans. Donations have already started to come in and you can give on any day leading up to Great Apes Giving Day and especially on 4 October when competitive leaderboards will be activated and the centres that raise the most funds, or who are supported by the most donors have the chance to win up to $40,000 in additional funds. So the more people who support us the more chance we have of winning critical funds for orangutans.

This Great Apes Giving Day we are asking for your support in rescuing and caring for Bornean orangutans. We have rescued over 2,200 orangutans through our work and we need your help so we can continue to save orangutans and care for the 700 orangutans we currently provide sanctuary, care and rehabilitation to. Every individual we have rescued has either been orphaned or displaced from their forest home. Like Sura, who we rescued when he was only 4 months old. Sura arrived in a dreadful condition suffering the mental tragedy of losing his mother, but also physical injuries; three of his fingers had been severed by a machete during his illegal capture. After many months of round-the-clock care from our dedicated babysitters and medical team, Sura started to grow in health and confidence. Since then he has made great leaps in progress in our Forest School, where he and the other babies spend their days with our carers learning all the skills they will need to one day be able to return to the wild.

It is only with the support of our donors that we are able to continue to rescue orangutans and give them a new chance of life which is such a gift. Join us on this important day to raise support for our orangutans. Simply click HERE and donate! Thank you all!

Orangutans Undergo Annual Routine Health Checks

Orangutans from both of the BOS Foundation’s rehabilitation centres – Nyaru Menteng in Central Kalimantan and Samboja Lestari in East Kalimantan – are given routine medical checks to determine each individual’s health status and to help us avoid, or prepare for, possible disease epidemics. If an infectious disease is detected in any of the orangutans under our care, our dedicated medical team promptly places the infected individual in quarantine for treatment and screens others for possible transmission.

Our medical team from Samboja Lestari recently finished the annual routine health checks on the young orangutans in Forest School Level 1.

Assisted by our dedicated babysitters, an orangutan is taken to the clinic for a routine health check

Routine health checks at our centres involve measuring the body weight and height/length of each individual, taking their blood samples and X-rays, and conducting dental and general medical examinations.

Vet Agnes conducts an examination assisted by Rebecca, a medical volunteer from Australia Zoo

Once their routine health checks are complete, orangutans wake slowly as the effects of the anaesthesia wear off; orangutans must wake up and be fully alert before they can be safely returned to the Forest School.

Orangutans are given milk to help them recover as the sedatives wear off

This year’s routine health checks indicate that all 22 orangutans from Samboja Lestari’s Forest School Level 1 are in good health. Regular health checks ensure that the orangutans in our care remain in optimum health, giving them the best chance of returning to life in the wild.

Text and photos by Suwardy, Communication Staff Member at BOSF Samboja Lestari

The year 2016 marks the BOS Foundation’s 25th anniversary! Celebrate 25 years of ever-challenging, dedicated work in the field of orangutan conservation by showing your support and help save orangutans! DONATE NOW

Bungan Savours Pot of Honey after Swarm Attack

On a rainy, early morning in the Kehje Sewen Forest, two of our PRM team members from Nles Mamse Camp – Bowo and Rizal – set out to observe and take notes on Bungan from dawn to dusk. After waiting half an hour for the rain to subside, the team wasted no time in finding Bungan’s nest and were lucky to have reached it before she woke up.

Around 6 a.m., Bungan rose from her nest and changed trees to forage for fruit. After sating her huge appetite, she went back to exploring the forest.

Bungan eating forest fruits

It was a cold day indeed, and the rain started up again mid-morning. Bungan was quick to build a nest to take shelter and did not budge from it. The team built a flying camp themselves to also take shelter from the rain, which didn’t let up until just before midday. Once the rain had stopped, Bungan moved from her shelter and once again roamed the trees, foraging for forest fruits.

As Bungan busily ate Macaranga sp. fruits, a swarm of bees suddenly attacked her for no apparent reason! She made a quick escape through the trees.

Bungan making a dash for it to escape an angry swarm of bees

After perhaps sensing the bees had calmed down or moved on, Bungan returned to the same tree to continue her unfinished fruity meal. However, she was attacked once more by the angry swarm and was forced to climb down the tree and move her sights to exploring food options on the forest floor. Quite by luck, Bungan happened upon the beehive, which had fallen from the branches above in all the commotion: She must have accidently knocked it off the tree as she was eating fruits, provoking the swarm attack. Bungan happily gave up foraging for fruits and instead began enjoying the beehive, rich in delicious honey. She ate it joyfully!

Bungan enjoys delicious honey from the fallen hive

After her sweet feast, Bungan climbed back up into the trees and built another nest to rest in. After her rest, she ventured out and explored the forest more until finally stopping at around 6 p.m. to build her night nest. The team then headed back to Nles Mamse Camp.

The day’s observations indicate that Bungan is in good condition and actively moves through the trees as she explores the forest, with very little time spent on the ground. She appeared to have come away from the bee attack without any serious stings. We are thrilled to know that Bungan is living a happy and prosperous life in the Kehje Sewen Forest. Stay healthy, Bungan!

Text by: PRM team in Nles Mamse Camp, Kehje Sewen Forest

The year 2016 marks the BOS Foundation’s 25th anniversary! Celebrate 25 years of ever-challenging, dedicated work in the field of orangutan conservation by showing your support and help save orangutans! DONATE NOW

Three More Orangutans Come Into BOS Foundation Care

This year the conservation status of Bornean orangutans was upgraded by IUCN from Endangered to Critically Endangered. This reclassification is largely due to continued habitat loss from the conversion of Borneo’s rainforests to oil palm, rubber, and paper plantations. Sadly, Bornean orangutans are also still victims of hunting and the illegal pet trade and are only a step away from extinction. The BOS Foundation’s Reintroduction Centres recently took in another three orangutans to undergo the long process of rehabilitation.

Two Infant Females

On September 9, the Central Kalimantan BKSDA and the BOS Foundation’s Nyaru Menteng team rescued an 8-month-old female infant from a local resident of Bawan village in the Banama Tingang Sub-Regency of Pulang Pisau Regency, Central Kalimantan. The team was tipped off by Drs. Sem Irawan Bodoi, Sub-Regent of Banama Tingang, who had reprimanded the resident for keeping the orangutan illegally, with little effect. The resident claimed to have found the orangutan – whom we later named Bawan, after the location she was rescued from – on a damaged stretch of land near his home.

Bawan

An X-ray scan on Bawan revealed a 4-mm air rifle bullet lodged in her left knee

On September 19, the same joint rescue team received a report from Central Kalimantan’s Tasik Payawan Sub-Regent, Mr. Ciing SPd, that he had secured a female baby orangutan of similar age to Bawan. The baby was being held captive by a local resident in Petak Bahandang village. The resident, who is an oil palm worker, claimed he found the baby orangutan motherless and alone on his way to work at a plantation. We have yet to name the baby. A general check up conducted by Maryos Tandang, our senior veterinarian at the Nyaru Menteng clinic, detected a fever.

Both babies were placed in quarantine at the BOS Foundation’s Nyaru Menteng Baby House, in Central Kalimantan.

Jeje

Jeje, a 6-year-old male, arrived at Samboja Lestari on September 8 after being rescued by the West Kutai BKSDA and the Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP) from a local resident in Begung, West Kutai, who had been keeping him as a pet. According to the resident, Jeje was found alone in a field near the village. Upon arrival at Samboja Lestari, Jeje displayed a fear of humans.

Jeje

Jeje was placed in the BOS Foundation’s Samboja Lestari quarantine complex, and is awaiting a complete health assessment.

Bawan, the unnamed baby and Jeje are, unfortunately, victims of weak law enforcement in Indonesia regarding the illegal pet trade and illegal captivity of protected wildlife, and the ongoing conversion of forests to plantations. If we fail to stop the destruction of Borneo’s forests, orangutans and other wild species will undoubtedly become extinct.

As an umbrella species, orangutans play a major role in forest protection; saving orangutans means saving forests. Human beings rely on forests as sources of oxygen and clean water, as CO2 absorbers, to prevent flooding and erosion and provide many non-timber forest resources. If humankind needs forests, and forests need orangutans, then we need to safeguard orangutans to ensure not only their survival, but also our own!

HOPE (Help Orangutans, Protect the Earth)

Text by: Communication Teams from Nyaru Menteng, Samboja Lestari, and BOS Foundation Headquarters

The year 2016 marks the BOS Foundation’s 25th anniversary! Celebrate 25 years of ever-challenging, dedicated work in the field of orangutan conservation by showing your support and help save orangutans! DONATE NOW

Leonie and Teresa’s Friendship in the Kehje Sewen Forest

Recently, three members from our PRM team in Nles Mamse Camp – Jani, Usup, and Rizal – located Leonie and Teresa around Transect 7. These two female orangutans were released in September and December 2015 respectively and it was great to have the chance to record behavioural data on them in the Kehje Sewen Forest: Both have covered an extensive range since their release, and have been difficult to track.

The team arrived at Transect 7 early and quickly spotted Leonie waking in her nest. She was hungry, and immediately climbed down from her nest to start feeding on the forest floor.

Leonie waking up in her nest

Leoni eating shoots

As the team were observing Leonie, Teresa arose from her nest located nearby. Teresa joined Leonie and the two fed together.

Teresa eating shoots

Shortly after, Leonie and Teresa climbed a tree and started moving through the forest together, taking their time to rest and eat forest fruits along the way. The team had to keep their distance, as both females expressed displeasure when they became aware of human presence.

The two actively moved through the trees, only descending occasionally to eat different food items. The pair kept moving toward the hills as the sky began to darken: Following them, the fading light and challenging terrain forced the team to end data collection for the day. But it was great to have observed these two magnificent females thriving in the forest.

The next day, the team caught up with the two again. As on the previous day, the two did everything together.

Compared to other orangutans released in 2015, Leonie and Teresa have continued to range widely across the Kehje Sewen Forest. They appear to be in great health and skilful foragers.

Text by: Jani, PRM team member from Nles Mamse Camp, Kehje Sewen Forest

The year 2016 marks the BOS Foundation’s 25th anniversary! Celebrate 25 years of ever-challenging, dedicated work in the field of orangutan conservation by showing your support and help save orangutans! DONATE NOW

Even Brief Journeys Hold Surprises (2 – Finish)

After concluding our release-point survey (Read more story here: Even Brief Journeys Hold Surprises (1)), we joined the PRM team’s daily meeting at Nles Mamse Camp. Here we heard about an unknown wild male orangutan the PRM team had observed living in the southern area of the Kehje Sewen Forest. The team had seen him spending time with Leonie, a female orangutan who was released in September 2015. The team planned to keep monitoring the dynamic between the two.

The male, wild orangutan our PRM team spotted spending time with Leonie

The male, wild orangutan our PRM team spotted spending time with Leonie

On the third day of our survey, we decided to go by foot to inspect the road to Pelangsiran, a small transit village on the outskirts of the Kehje Sewen Forest. However, before reaching Pelangsiran we decided to head back to camp, as Christian and I were too exhausted to proceed. The eight-kilometre track from Nles Mamse Camp to Pelangsiran proved too challenging for us, and we rested near an estuary with the sounds of hornbills nearby and kangkareng flying freely in the air around us.

Having completed the task of establishing release points in the southern area of the Kehje Sewen Forest, on the fourth day we headed back to Muara Wahau, the city nearest to our location. Still, challenges lay before us.

After reaching the “end of the road” – at the end of an exhausting 400-meter walk up a steep incline and the furthest point vehicles can reach – we waited all morning to be collected by car. We had already arranged to be picked up that morning, yet there were no cars in sight. As if the forest wanted to cool us down, the rain started to fall a bit after noon. We waited all day without word, as we were in an area unreachable by phone signal. We had no other choice but to wait under a flying camp we found nearby, for it was too difficult to walk back to camp on the slippery steep hill after the rain.

By sunset there was still no sign of cars, and the four of us resigned ourselves to the fact we might have to stay overnight in the forest. We had just started to build a bonfire, when the sound of an engine came roaring in the distance. We were relieved to see that Pak Susilo and Mas Heri, the drivers, were finally coming down the track. They explained a fallen tree had blocked their way from Pelangsiran and they had to work hard to move it out of the way. Without further ado, we quickly departed for Muara Wahau. We reached Muara Wahau at around 9 p.m. and rested for a while in a hotel, after which we continued our trip to Balikpapan.

For Christian, who recently joined the Samboja Lestari team, this was his first and most valuable forest experience. He said it was incredibly exhausting, but fun! I agree. While the journey was only brief, it was indeed exhausting. I find that surprises usually await, and unplanned events can occur, when you venture into the forest – but that is what makes it so exciting! See you on another adventure next time in the Kehje Sewen Forest!

Text by: Rika Safira, PRM Coordinator for RHOI at Headquarter

The year 2016 marks the BOS Foundation’s 25th anniversary! Celebrate 25 years of ever-challenging, dedicated work in the field of orangutan conservation by showing your support and help save orangutans! DONATE NOW

Chubby Ella Content with Life in Batikap

I am new to Batikap and readily admit to a long-term love of orangutans, which began after I learned of their remarkable intelligence and endured due to their great behavioural charm. Recently, I have found myself most taken with Ella.

Ella has kept me laughing over the past few days of observation: It is just something in her expression. She is one of the few released orangutans who have grown somewhat chubby in the forest, despite having to forage for food all on her own. In comparison to other orangutans that move naturally and gracefully through the forest, Ella seems to move her body about in a clunky and loud manner. Rather than travelling smoothly from tree to tree, Ella moves rather awkwardly and often rests her bulky frame in trees visibly too small for it. She never appears concerned by this, however, and her face retains a look rather reminiscent of someone who has just come out of a relaxing massage, completely content with life.

We recently began observing Ella again out of concern she had spent two days in a row in her nest, without feeding much. We were worried she might be sick, and she became the subject of many a conversation here at Batikap as concern for her grew. The first day I observed Ella was after two days of flooding in which we hadn’t been able to reach her. I was very worried when we came upon her laying motionless in a tree, eyes closed. I started to panic a bit until finally she slowly, with her typical yogic expression, reached out for a leaf. Since then, she has caught up on the feeding she missed: Yesterday she spent about four hours slurping termites out of their nests. Now that she is up and moving, we can confirm there has been no dent in her endearing bulk.

Text and Photos by: Coral, PRM Team volunteer in Batikap Conservation Forest

The year 2016 marks the BOS Foundation’s 25th anniversary! Celebrate 25 years of ever-challenging, dedicated work in the field of orangutan conservation by showing your support and help save orangutans! DONATE NOW

Even Brief Journeys Hold Surprises (1)

As coordinator of the RHOI Post-Release Monitoring (PRM) team, it is my job to make preparations for the next orangutan release in East Kalimantan. I am responsible for organising the monitoring and assessing of release candidates from Samboja Lestari, and for the selection of suitable release points in the Kehje Sewen Forest. Due to pressing office duties, I’ve only had one week to prepare!

Fortunately, I work alongside three dedicated individuals who care greatly about orangutan conservation: Indonesia’s leading primatologist and orangutan expert, Dr. Sri Suci Utami Atmoko, who was also my lecturer at National University, in Jakarta; Assistant Manager for Animal Welfare in Samboja Lestari, Christian Nicholas Pranoto; and Misdi, an orangutan researcher who was the coordinator of Tuanan Camp for the Mawas Conservation Program, in Central Kalimantan, from 2014-2015.

From left to right: Dr. Sri Suci Utami Atmoko, Misdi, Myself, Christian

Preparations for the next release are already underway in the BOS Foundation’s Samboja Lestari Orangutan Reintroduction Program – we have already had many group discussions, and have selected the most appropriate individuals ready for release. There are certain criteria rehabilitated orangutans need to fulfil before they are deemed released-ready. Release candidates must be healthy; have graduated from Forest School; spent a length of time on a pre-release island; show consistent independent behaviour and a dislike for human presence (where they exhibit behaviours such as kiss-squeaking); and be of mature age. We have five rehabilitated orangutans that fit the requirements, yet these names and numbers could change prior to the release.

After determining our candidates, our next task was to choose release points in the southern part of the Kehje Sewen Forest. There were two areas we thought would be worth surveying; one at the old Mugi Triman Camp, and one more at a phenology transect.

On the first day of our recent survey trip, we went to the old Mugi Triman Camp (Mugi Triman is the name of a timber company that used to operate in the area). This location, which is about three kilometres from Nles Mamse Camp, was used for our last release in May 2016. Our PRM team have reported that the orangutans released in May have long moved away from the area, thus, we initially considered the area a good option for the planned August release. However, on the way to the area we found a critical bridge had collapsed. We decided the alternative route would be too risky, considering the release team would have to lift the transport cages, which can weigh more than 100 kilograms.

A 15-20 meter trail, , with a dangerous 8-10 meter-deep cliff on both sides, on the way to the old Mugi Triman Camp

The following day, we checked the next option; the area around a phenology transect, located about 4 kilometres from Nles Mamse Camp. Our PRM team had last surveyed the area in 2015, and found the area to be accessible by car with only minor labour required to clear the path. We have deemed this the obvious best choice for the release.

The phenology transect area

Stay tuned to our website to find out more on my journey in the Kehje Sewen Forest!

Text by: Rika Safira, PRM Coordinator for RHOI at Headquarter

The year 2016 marks the BOS Foundation’s 25th anniversary! Celebrate 25 years of ever-challenging, dedicated work in the field of orangutan conservation by showing your support and help save orangutans! DONATE NOW