BOSF transforms part of Salat Island into orangutan conservation area

BOS Foundation: 27 March 2015

In trying to meet the goals specified in the Indonesian Orangutan Conservation Strategy and Action Plan (2007), the BOS Foundation with the support of the local community is trying to utilise a small part of Salat Nusa island located in the estuary of Kahayan River as an orangutan conservation area, as well as to protect environmental services rendered by this essential ecosystem.
Nyaru Menteng, Central Kalimantan, 27th March 2015. Having released 136 individual orangutans into the Bukit Batikap Conservation Forest, the BOS Foundation through their Nyaru Menteng Central Kalimantan Orangutan Reintroduction Program is currently under the process of transforming Badak Besar and Badak Kecil islands located on Salat Nusa island in Pulang Pisau Regency as a pre-release area for orangutan release candidates and also as a sanctuary for unreleasable orangutans.

It is estimated that around 10% of all orangutans being rehabilitated by the BOS Foundation are unreleasable due to various conditions, such as suffering from several types of transmissible diseases, disabilities or handicaps they sustained during their illegal capture, or inadequate wild behavior due to a prolonged period in captivity prior to their rescue. These conditions would prevent them from surviving in the wild or pose risks to wild orangutan populations and therefore they are ineligible for release.

CEO Yayasan BOS, Dr. Ir. Jamartin Sihite, explains, “We have an obligation to fulfill the Indonesian Orangutan Conservation Strategy and Action Plan launched by the former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY). This strategy states that by 2015, there should be no orangutans living within rehabilitation centers. However, the problem is that it is impossible to responsibly reintroduce unreleasable orangutans. If we do that, we would risk introducing disease wild orangutan populations. Furthermore from an animal welfare perspective we cannot release individuals who clearly do not possess the skills to survive in the wild. But life in a cage is not addressing welfare issues and the BOS Foundation is striving to find solutions to ensure that these unreleasable orangutans will not have to live inside a cage for the rest of their lives. They have the same rights to live in a natural environment, in the forest.”

Over the last few years, the BOS Foundation has been striving to seek a suitable area which can serve as a safe orangutan sanctuary. Denny Kurniawan, BOS Foundation Nyaru Menteng Program Manager adds, “The area we located at Badak Besar and Badak Kecil islands on Salat Nusa island area has not widely suffered from either exploration or exploitation. When we acquired the permit to manage the area of Badak Besar and Badak Kecil from the government of Pulang Pisau Regency as an orangutan conservation area, there were several plantation fields belonging to the local community, so in order to use the whole area, we have submitted compensation to those relevant parties, and we are very fortunate that the local people are extremely supportive of orangutan conservation efforts in the region. In the near future, the area will be proposed for categorization as an Essential Ecosystem Area, in which the BOS Foundation, the government of Pulang Pisau Regency and local communities will collaborate to ensure the preservation of ecosystem in the area.”

H. Eddy Pratowo, S.E., M.M., Bupati Kabupaten Pulang Pisau affirms, “The Pulang Pisau Regency fully supports orangutan and habitat conservation efforts because this species is legally protected and it has become a significant part of the people’s lives in Central Kalimantan. We are truly thankful to the BOS Foundation who has followed the regulations applied in acquiring the Salat island area. This is the government’s commitment to materialise that development and essential area conservation run in harmony in building the nation and the state of the Republic of Indonesia.”

Drs. Ali Dambrah, M.Si., 2nd Assistant in Economy and Development Regional Secretariate of Pulang Pisau Regency explains, “The Regent of Pulang Pisau, Mr. Eddy Pratowo has given his support in the orangutan conservation effort from the BOS Foundation. He requested us to form a team to socialise and facilitate the implementation of the plan. We are fortunate to have such a supportive local community.”

In total, the area the BOS Foundation plans to utilise is 655 hectares out of 3,419 hectares of Salat Nusa Island. The area assessed to have the ideal carrying capacity with unexploited vegetation, a year-round isolation, and no wild orangutan population. Apart from that, the Badak Besar and Badak Kecil areas, considered as an Essential Ecosystem Area, are equipped with a wetland ecosystem, in this case, the river which serves an important environmental function to both local biodiversity and human lives, such as providing watershed protection, reducing the risk of floods, etc.

Drs. Sumadi, M.Si., Head of Jabiren RayaSub-district says, “The BOS Foundation has been working hard to rescue and conserve orangutans. On behalf of Jabiren Raya Sub-district I would like to express our pleasure to participate in this good cause. Most of our forests are damaged, we do not want to suffer more losses. Orangutan conservation efforts help us to preserve nature. We also see this as a way to uplift the local economy and are willing to cooperate in the field of social and culture."

The cooperation agreement between the BOS Foundation and Government of Central Kalimantan on orangutan and habitat conservation in Central Kalimantan Province, which has been in effect since 31st December 2009, states that the working area of the BOS Foundation comprises the whole area of Central Kalimantan Province. Orangutan is the flagship species for Central Kalimantan which has become an icon for the province. The number of orangutans under rehabilitation at Nyaru Menteng is still in the hundreds, and as agreed upon between BOS Foundation and Central Kalimantan BKSDA, and the government of the related regency, the parties will keep on working together, trying to release as many releasable and rehabilitated orangutans as possible. In order to release them, pre-release forest area that supports the last important process of rehabilitation is needed. Badak Kecil and Badak Besar islands can support this need and certainly will help accelerate the whole process of orangutan release. Besides, both areas have the potential for use as a sanctuary for the unreleasable orangutans, which also have the right to live freely in a limited yet safe and monitored environment. All of us need to protect and support this area for the cause of conservation of wild species, orangutans in particular, and our forests in general in which we will pass on to our children.

The effort of transforming this area into a sanctuary is a real manifestation of collaboration between the BOS Foundation with stakeholders, namely the Government of Central Kalimantan Province, the Government of Pulang Pisau Regency, the Central Kalimantan Conservation and Natural Resources Agency (BKSDA), and the people of Jabiren Raya Sub-district with an interest in Indonesia’s orangutan conservation efforts. The BOS Foundation would also like to thank John Cochrane and our global BOS partners who have helped and supported funding for this very significant initiative.

Contact:
Paulina Laurensia Communications Specialist Email: pauline@orangutan.or.id Mobile: +62813 4733 7003
Monterado Fridman (Agung) Communications and Education Coordinator of NyaruMenteng Email: agungm@orangutan.or.id Mobile: +628125094722

Editor’s Note: ABOUT BOS FOUNDATION Founded In 1991, the BOS Foundation is a non-profit Indonesian organization dedicated to conservation of Bornean orangutan and its habitat, 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 rehabilitating more than 700 orangutans with the support from 400 highly dedicated staff and experts in primatology, biodiversity, ecology, forest rehabilitation, agroforestry, community empowerment, communications, education, and orangutan welfare. For further informations please visit www.orangutan.or.id.