Suja and Cleo – Two of the 12 Orangutans released onto Salat Island
On April 5th, 2017, BOS Foundation in Nyaru Menteng, in cooperation with the Central Kalimantan BKSDA deployed 12 orangutans from Nyaru Menteng to Salat pre-release island for their final stage of rehabilitation. This last phase of the orangutans learning needs to take place in a natural environment which is safe and controlled and forested islands are ideal locations for this.
The orangutan rehabilitation process can take up to seven years. Orangutans rescued or confiscated by a joint team from Central Kalimantan BKSDA and BOS Foundation then undergo gradual rehabilitation stages from baby school through to different levels of Forest School, much like an education system for human children. The final stage of rehabilitation takes place on pre-release islands. These islands should be forested, provide adequate natural food sources, be protected and well-monitored. Once orangutans have completed this final part of their learning and can demonstrate that they have acquired the necessary forest skills to survive in the wild, they can be reintroduced to natural forest.
Nyaru Menteng’s current capacity can ideally accommodate around 300 individuals, whilst we are currently taking care of around 480, with more than 100 individuals ready to commence final learning on pre-release islands. As such BOS Foundation has set a target to move at least 100 orangutans from Nyaru Menteng to Salat Island this year alone.To do this BOS Foundation needed a large forest area to accommodate the orangutans, and as such they have formed a cooperation with PT. Sawit Sumbermas Sarana (SSMS) Tbk, to manage a 2,100 hectares of forest area on Salat Island, with BOS Foundation providing 655 ha and PT. SSMS Tbk 1,434 hectares respectively. The area has been assessed and can support possibly more than 200 orangutans in good quality forest, with year-round isolation, no wild orangutan population and food availability.
Dr. Ir. Jamartin Sihite, BOS Foundation CEO, explained; “Last year, we released our 250th orangutan back to natural habitat since 2012. There are still many more awaiting release to the forest and onto our pre-release islands. Our enclosures are beyond capacity, but now that we are able to utilise Salat island, we can start moving the orangutans who have finished Forest School in Nyaru Menteng, onto the pre-release stage. The more orangutans we can move, the faster we can prepare those on the island for release into natural forest. The utilisation of Salat island is a breakthrough effort that involves many donors from the conservation world, the government, the community, and private sectors. We are can already see that when we all work together, we can make orangutan and habitat conservation a reality.”
Vallauthan Subraminam, President Director of PT. Sawit Sumbermas Sarana Tbk, affirmed, “We realise the importance of habitat and ecosystem conservation efforts, especially in Central Kalimantan province. We therefore commit ourselves to comply to principles of sustainable plantation management and fully support BOS Foundation’s work to provide natural pre-release habitat for orangutans that are ready for release, and in the future, a sanctuary for those who are un-releasable. We are not only providing extra land, we are ready to conduct real actions to prove that sustainable business measures can work synchronously with conservation efforts.”
Ir. Adib Gunawan,Head of Central Kalimantan’s Conservation of Natural Resources Agency (BKSDA), said, “To be able to release orangutans into the wild is a long process. One significant part is living in a habitat closely similar to the real forest, yet controlled and secure. We in the Central Kalimantan BKSDA see this cooperation between the BOS Foundation, Pulang Pisau Regent office, and PT. SSMS Tbk., as a brilliant breakthrough and wholeheartedly support this collaboration. The shift in orangutan conservation status last year to critically endangered prompts us to more actively protect and safeguard orangutans and their habitat. We sincerely hope that this effort we take together today, can ensure the preservation of Bornean orangutans in the future.”
H. Eddy Pratowo, S.E., M.M., Pulang PisauRegent expressed his gratitude, “We are grateful that we are still blessed with some areas which we can utilise as orangutan habitat like this area on Salat Island. The entire Pulang Pisau Regency office fully supports orangutan conservation efforts which have been a significant part of our lives in Central Kalimantan. The government and the people of Pulang Pisau Regency are proud to be able to actively participate in the orangutan and habitat conservation effort. We hope that this partnership model involving multi stakeholders like this collaboration shows, can be continually developed in the future.The utilisation of Salat Nusa as an orangutan pre-release island and sanctuary is testament to positive co-operation between the BOS Foundation and other stakeholders, namely the government of Central Kalimantan Province, government of Pulang Pisau Regency, Central Kalimantan BKSDA, and the people of Jabiren Raya Sub-District who are concerned with Indonesian orangutan conservation.”
BOS Foundation also expresses gratitude for the support of PT Sawit Sumbermas Sarana and our global partners including John Cochrane from Australia, Constance Travis Charitable Trust, BOS Australia, BOS Germany, BOS Switzerland and World Animal Protection (WAP) who have generously funded this extremely important initiative.