Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, in cooperation with the East Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), will release five more orangutans from the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Rehabilitation Center to the Kehje Sewen Forest.
Samboja, East Kalimantan, December 4, 2017. Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation marks the first World Wildlife Conservation Day which falls today with the release of five orangutans from the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Rehabilitation Center to the Kehje Sewen Forest in East Kutai Regency, East Kalimantan. This is the 14th release conducted by BOS Foundation and East Kalimantan BKSDA since 2012.
Two male and three female orangutans, with one mother-infant pair among them, will leave Samboja Lestari and head for the Kehje Sewen Forest in an overland journey that will take approximately 20 hours. The team will stop every two hours to check the orangutans, and to give them food and water.One of the orangutans in today’s release, Santa, is finally going home. She was rescued in Muara Wahau in 2014, and displayed natural, wild behaviours on arrival, however she was too young to be immediately returned to natural habitat. She is now six years old and ready for release and we are delighted to be able to return all of these orangutans, including Santa, home in time for Christmas.
The release of these five will bring the total number of released orangutans into the Kehje Sewen Forest to 80.
Dr. Ir. Jamartin Sihite, BOSF CEO, said; “BOS Foundation’s focus is giving back freedom to the orphaned and displaced orangutans under our care. This year our #OrangutanFreedom campaign has intensely highlighted the need to ensure we strive to do exactly that. Orangutans under our care deserve a life in natural habitat and orangutans living in the wild deserve protection to continue to live safe and free.
This year, we have established and secured additional pre-release islands. These islands provide a safe place where orangutans, which have completed the rehabilitation process in Forest School, can hone their skills prior to their final release to a natural forest. Our hope is that next year, BOS Foundation can release even higher numbers of orangutans, back to the forest.We extend our gratitude to the East Kalimantan BKSDA, the government authorities of East Kalimantan Province, and East Kutai and Kutai Kartanegara districts, and their communities. BOS Foundation also greatly appreciates the moral and financial support for today’s event provided by BOS Switzerland, as well as our Global Partner Organisations, individual donors and conservation organizations worldwide concerned with orangutan conservation in Indonesia.”
Ir. Sunandar Trigunajasa N., Head of the East Kalimantan BKSDA, added; “Conservation involves a massive collaborative effort, and can only be achieved through good cooperation among all stakeholders, including the government, the communities, conservation organizations and the private sector.
Our cooperation with BOS Foundation is an excellent example of how positive results can be achieved when we work together. Together we have been able to rescue numerous orangutans, and following the lengthy rehabilitation process supported by BOS Foundation, these orangutans can then be safely released back to the wild. We at BKSDA sincerely appreciate the efforts of other parties who have committed to, and engage in, efforts to preserve orangutans and natural habitat. There are very few good quality forests remaining in the province and together we need to save these forest areas, and help restore those which have been damaged. Many wildlife species that live within these forests are protected by the law and if you are keeping, or know someone who is keeping a protected wildlife species, it needs to be handed over to us. We must halt the capturing, killing and holding of protected animals. It is our collective duty to protect our remaining forests and the biodiversity, which remains within.”Kehje Sewen Forest is an 86,450-hectare rainforest area in East Kalimantan managed under the Ecosystem Restoration Concession (ERC) scheme by PT. RHOI, a company established by BOS Foundation in 2009. In 2010, PT. RHOI obtained permits to utilize the Kehje Sewen Forest specifically for the release of rehabilitated orangutans from Samboja Lestari, and the release program commenced in 2012.
Dr. Aldrianto Priadjati, Deputy Director of Conservation for PT. RHOI, said; “According to surveys, the Kehje Sewen Forest area we manage can accommodate about 150 orangutans. Since 2012, we have reintroduced 80 here. The area only has the capacity to accommodate another 70, at most, but we still have 155 orangutans progressing through rehabilitation at Samboja Lestari. So, simply put, we need more forest to be able to release all the orangutans we currently care for.
As for the area we manage, our data indicates that orangutan distribution is concentrated in certain forest areas, which has prompted us to establish access to new areas and provide better opportunities for released orangutans to succeed. However, this means increasing operational costs, as we also have to establish more monitoring transects, build new camps, and hire more monitoring staff.
So far, we have documented two successful births in the Kehje Sewen Forest, which strongly indicates that the orangutan rehabilitation and reintroduction process implemented by BOS Foundation and PT. RHOI is on track. We now need to acquire the rights to manage a larger forest area, to accommodate all of the orangutans currently undergoing rehabilitation at Samboja Lestari.”
ABOUT THE BORNEO ORANGUTAN SURVIVAL (BOS) FOUNDATION
Founded in 1991, BOS Foundation is a non-profit Indonesian organization dedicated to the conservation of Bornean orangutans and their habitat, working together with local communities, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry of the Republic of Indonesia, and international partner organizations.
Currently, BOS Foundation is working to rehabilitate 605 orangutans, with the support of 443 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 PT RHOI
PT Restorasi Habitat Orangutan Indonesia (RHOI) is a company established by the BOS Foundation on April 21, 2009, solely to acquire the Utilization of Forest Timber Products licence through Restoration of the Ecosystem (IUPHHK-RE), also known as the Ecosystem Restoration Concession (ERC).
As a non-profit organisation, the BOS Foundation is not permitted to apply for certain licences due to government regulations. Hence, RHOI was established. The permit gives RHOI the authority to manage a concession area – in this case, a forest area – which is imperative in the planning and implementation of orangutan releases.
On August 18, 2010, RHOI was issued an ERC permit by the Ministry of Forestry, for an 86,450-hectare section of rainforest in East Kutai Regency, East Kalimantan. This ERC provides a suitable, protected, and sustainable habitat for orangutans for at least the next 60 years, with the option of extending for another 35 years. The funding to purchase the permit, which cost around US$1.4 million, was received from donors and the BOS Foundation’s partner organizations in Europe and Australia.
The forest’s name, ‘Kehje Sewen’, translates as ‘orangutan’ in local Dayak Wehea language. By name and nature, the Kehje Sewen Forest has become a forest for orangutans. For more information, please visit www.theforestforever.com.