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.
Monterado Fridman (Agung)
Coordinator of Communications and Education Division of Nyaru Menteng
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).