In celebration of its 25th anniversary, the Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation is releasing four more rehabilitated orangutans from the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Reintroduction and Land Rehabilitation Programs (Samboja Lestari) to the Kehje Sewen Forest, located in East Kutai and Kutai Kertanegara Regencies.
Samboja, East Kalimantan, October 18, 2016. To mark 25 years of dedicated work in the field of orangutan conservation, the BOS Foundation – together with the East Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) – are going to release four orangutans and return one more from Samboja Lestari to the Kehje Sewen Forest. This release is also in support of the Kaltim Green and Economic Green programs, which were launched by East Kalimantan Governor Prof. H. Awang Faroek Ishak.
With this release, the total number of orangutans released by the BOS Foundation to the protected Kehje Sewen Forest since 2012, now stands at 49 individuals.
East Kalimantan Governor, Prof. H. Awang Faroek Ishak, said, “Releasing orangutans back to their natural habitat is beneficial for habitat and biodiversity conservation of our forests in East Kalimantan. I would like to remind everyone of the importance of preserving nature to mitigate the effects of global warming. Orangutans help spread seeds and open the forest canopy, therefore they are our most important conservation partner. I completely support the rehabilitated orangutan release effort and expect to see these released orangutans thrive and become an independent and sustainable wild population.”
The five orangutans – three males and two females – will be transported overland from the Samboja Lestari Centre to Muara Wahau, the sub-regent capital of East Kutai Regency. The journey will take about 12 hours, with the team making pit stops every two hours to check the orangutans. From Muara Wahau, the trip will take another five hours to reach a point located about 200 metres from the Telen River at the edge of the Kehje Sewen Forest, where land vehicles can go no further. The transport cages will then be carefully carried to the riverbank and loaded onto a small boat called a ‘ces’, which will take us across the river. The cages will then be unloaded from the ces and placed on 4×4 vehicles for the last leg of the journey to the designated release points in the Kehje Sewen Forest.
The returning orangutan, a male named Kent, was first released in 2014, but was brought back to Samboja Lestari after only a few weeks when the Post Release Monitoring team reported that he had been seen with injuries believed to have been inflicted through conflict with another male orangutan. Kent made a full recovery at Samboja Lestari and is now ready to return to the Kehje Sewen Forest.
The Kehje Sewen Forest is an 86,450-hectare rainforest in East Kalimantan managed as an Ecosystem Restoration Concession (ERC) area by PT RHOI (Restorasi Habitat Orangutan Indonesia). The BOS Foundation purchased this ERC in 2010, specifically to be used as a release area for rehabilitated orangutans.
Head of the East Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), Ir. Sunandar Trigunajasa N., said, “We are all aware of the fact that the responsibility of species and habitat conservation rests on all of our shoulders – be it the government, community, private sectors, or public organizations. Therefore, it is necessary for us to fully support the BOS Foundation’s orangutan release effort, for this effort is an important step in natural habitat management, which is protected by law. The East Kalimantan BKSDA deeply appreciates the cooperation we have, not only with BOS Foundation, but also with other conservation organizations. Let’s work harder together to conserve our rich nature.”
This year, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed Bornean Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) as “critically endangered”. Considering the BOS Foundation is still caring for a further 200 orangutans at Samboja Lestari, there is an urgency to release orangutans once they have completed their rehabilitation process in order to help save wild orangutan populations.
Dr. Ir. Jamartin Sihite, BOS Foundation’s CEO said, “This year, we received bad news. The Bornean orangutan conservation status was reclassified as “critically endangered” due to habitat loss. It is predicted that the wild orangutan population is going to sharply decrease in the coming years. This forces us to immediately find suitable forest areas for releasing orangutans from our rehabilitation centres. But, this is our collective responsibility. The BOS Foundation desperately needs support and commitment from both central and regional governments, not only to provide suitable areas, but also to strengthen law enforcement for crimes relating to habitat destruction. The East Kalimantan BKSDA has been working actively with us, but we simply need more active hands to ensure conservation of orangutans and their habitats.”
This release has only been possible through cooperation between the BOS Foundation and the East Kalimantan BKSDA, the Provincial Government of East Kalimantan, the local governments of East Kutai and Kutai Kartanegara regencies, and the local residents of said regencies. The BOS Foundation is extremely grateful for the moral and financial support provided by BOS Switzerland, PT BANK CENTRAL ASIA (BCA) Tbk, individual donors, and other partners and organizations from around the world concerned with orangutan conservation in Indonesia.
Communications Staff Samboja Lestari
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 the support of 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 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. On August 18, 2010, RHOI was issued an ERC permit, giving it the authority to use and manage 86,450 hectares of rainforest in East Kutai and Kutai Kertanegara Regencies, East Kalimantan. 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.
This concession provides a sustainable and secure habitat for orangutans for at least 60 years, with the option of extending for another 35 years. Issued by the Ministry of Forestry, this ERC licence cost around US$1.4 million, which was funded by generous donations from donors and the BOS Foundation’s partner organizations in Europe, Australia and the US. 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