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Year of #FREEDOM: BOS Foundation and East Kalimantan BKSDA Release More Orangutans into Kehje Sewen Forest


Launching our 2017 #FREEDOM campaign, BOS Foundation through the Samboja Lestari East Kalimantan Orangutan Reintroduction Program (Samboja Lestari) and the East Kalimantan BKSDA release 7 more orangutans into Kehje Sewen Forest in East Kutai and Kutai Kartanegara Regencies, East Kalimantan. This release will bring the population of orangutans released into Kehje Sewen to 62 individuals.

Samboja, East Kalimantan, March 1, 2017. BOS Foundation has been reintroducing orangutans to natural habitat since 2012, and our programs are amongst the most successful great ape reintroduction projects in the world. This year we aim to accelerate our activites and give back #FREEDOM to as many orangutans as feasible. Working towards this goal and in cooperation with the East Kalimantan BKSDA, we will reintroduce 7 orangutans back to natural habitat in Kehje Sewen Forest located in East Kutai and Kutai Kartanegara Regencies, East Kalimantan. Today where they will join 55 orangutans previously released from BOS Foundation rehabilitation centers.

The seven orangutans being released consist of two males and five females, all of whom are aged around 20 years old. They will be released into the northern part of Kehje Sewen Forest, where we have already reintroduced 31 rehabilitated orangutans who, according to our monitoring data, are widespread in the area.

Elisa, Wardah, Eris, Emmy, Wulani, Cemong and Beni will be transported over land from Samboja Lestari straight to a small airstrip belonging to PT. Swakarsa Sinar Sentosa in Muara Wahau, the capital of East Kutai Regency. During the road trip, the team will follow strict procedures, and the convoy will stop every 2 hours to check the orangutans health and comfort during the journey and provide food and water. From Muara Wahau, the seven orangutans will be lifted by a helicopter straight to release points in the northern section of Kehje Sewen.

Dr. Aldrianto Priadjati, RHOI Director of Conservation said, “We are once again utilizing the northern part of Kehje Sewen Forest to accomodate the reintroduction of orangutans. This group consists of older individuals, who have been through a lengthy rehabilitation process and are now ready for release. Our aim to create a sustainable population, and following expert advice there is still sufficient carrying capacity in this region to introduce additional orangutans of this age. This area is remote and would normally take 3-4 days to reach by foot; fortunately we have the opportunity to use air transport, which enables us to safely and swiftly conduct this release.”

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), a company established by BOS Foundation. PT RHOI acquired the relevant permit to utilize this forest in 2010, specifically to be used as a release site for rehabilitated orangutans from Samboja Lestari. In Kehje Sewen Forest, the BOS Foundation has recorded two natural births, which is a positive indicator of the success of BOS Foundation’s reintroduction program and demonstrates that Kehje Sewen Forest is suitable habitat for orangutan reintroduction and preservation.

Ir. Sunandar Trigunajasa N., Head of East Kalimantan BKSDA, said, “The Bornean orangutan was reclassified as ‘critically endangered’ last year. This is a serious situation which we remain committed to improving, not through campaigning alone, but through actively supporting orangutan and habitat conservation and increasing our efforts. This requires support from all, meaning the government, communities, private sectors, and all public organizations. We need to realize that human activities have marginalised orangutan natural habitat, the forest. We fully support this joint orangutan reintroduction event today. Our cooperation in orangutan rescue, rehabilitation and release activities clearly reflects the importance of orangutan and habitat conservation and I remind all stakeholders to join hands with us in preserving the rich natural forest that remains in our country.”

Ir. Jamartin Sihite, BOS Foundation CEO said, “This is our year of #FREEDOM for orangutans. As a unique charismatic species protected by national and international law, orangutans have the right to live freely in safe natural habitat. Being free does not only mean being released back to the forest, but also includes the remaining wild orangutan population living in natural habitat; they should be able to live free from threats of forest destruction and hunting. For orangutans to live freely in the forest, the forest must be safe from destruction. We understand that securing orangutan and habitat conservation is an overwhelming task for us to undertake alone. Therefore, we urge all stakeholders, the government, the communities, the private sector and organizations, to actively support the preservation of this incredible umbrella species. Human beings need forest to live, and the forest needs orangutans to help maintain these important ecosystems, ultimately this means we need orangutans, together with the whole plethora of biodiversity our forests harbor, to keep our forests safe.”

This orangutan release has only been possible through cooperation with 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. BOS Foundation is extremely grateful for the moral and financial support provided by PT Swakarsa Sinar Sentosa, BOS Switzerland, individual donors, other partners, and organizations from around the world concerned with orangutan conservation in Indonesia.

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Contact:

Paulina Laurensia

Communications Specialist

Email: pauline@orangutan.or.id

Suwardy

Communications Staff Samboja Lestari

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 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. 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, on a 86,450 hectares of rainforest in East Kutai Regency, East Kalimantan. This ERC provides a suitable, protected, and sustainable habitat for orangutans for at least 60 years with the option of extending for another 35 years. The fund to purchase the permit, which costs around US$1.4 million, 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.

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