BOS Foundation’s 200th orangutan release

Nyaru Menteng, Central Kalimantan, 11 April 2016.

In celebration of their 25th anniversary and to mark International Earth Day on 22 April, the BOS Foundation and the Central Kalimantan BKSDA will journey with twelve orangutans from the BOS Foundation’s Central Kalimantan Orangutan Reintroduction Program in Nyaru Menteng to prepared release points in the Bukit Batikap Conservation Forest, Murung Raya Regency, Central Kalimantan. The twelve rehabilitated orangutans to be released include nine (9) females and three (3) males.

The twelve orangutans will leave Nyaru Menteng on two separate dates; 11 and 20 April, 2016. The first group will involve eight orangutans, and will head to a transit enclosure located in P.T. Bumi Barito Mineral (Cokal Ltd.), Batu Ampar. Here, four orangutans will have a two-night recovery stay, while the other four will continue the next morning straight to Camp Totat Jalu in the heart of the Bukit Batikap Conservation Forest and spend their two-night recovery there. The second group, consisting of four orangutans, will head straight to the Bukit Batikap Conservation Forest without a stopover in Batu Ampar. The releases will take place on three separate dates: 15, 18 and 24 April, with four orangutans released each day.

Since 2012, the BOS Foundation has released 155 orangutans in the Bukit Batikap Conservation Forest. With the release of these 12 orangutans, the total number of reintroduced orangutans from Nyaru Menteng to Batikap will reach 167 individuals.

A combination of land and river transportation for the two groups will be used to take the orangutans to prepared points in the Bukit Batikap Conservation Forest. The BOS Foundation successfully conducted previous releases using a combination of land and air transportation, as well as the land-and-river combination. However, the best alternative for this release is the land-and-river combination since air transportation in unavailable at this time.

Denny Kurniawan, Nyaru Menteng Program Manager, says, “We are working hard each year to release orangutans back to their natural habitat. Due to the extensive forest fires which occurred last year, we rescued even more orangutans who remain under our care and rehabilitation. We acknowledge that orangutans belong to this nation; therefore, we need to protect and preserve them. We take this responsibility very seriously. We have chosen land and river transportation to transport the 12 orangutans from Nyaru Menteng to the Bukit Batikap Conservation Forest. The trip will be tiring, so the orangutans will be given time to recover from the journey prior to their release. I hope they will thrive in their new habitat and establish a new wild orangutan population, as expected.”

Head of Central Kalimantan’s Conservation of Natural Resources Agency (BKSDA), Dr. Nandang Prihadi, S.Hut., M.Sc., warmly welcomes the release, saying, “The Bornean orangutan population is under serious threat of extinction due to loss of habitat and human activity; be it from hunting, captivity, or involved in a conflict with them. Collaboration between the Central Kalimantan BKSDA and the BOS Foundation is a joint initiative to help return orangutans to their natural habitat and increase wild populations. There are still plenty of orangutans undergoing rehabilitation in Central Kalimantan. They cannot stay there forever. We ought to return them to the wild once they are ready. Preserving our forests is our collective responsibility, together with the government and people of Central Kalimantan. Releasing more orangutans to mark International Earth Day is a perfect moment to show our deep concern for the degenerating condition of our planet. This release is proof of what good collaboration between BOSF Nyaru Menteng and the Central Kalimantan BKSDA can achieve. Let us support this effort and help protect the forest, so we can pass it down to our children.”

Dr. Jamartin Sihite, CEO of the BOS Foundation says, “In celebrating International Earth Day and the BOS Foundation’s 25th anniversary, we will release 12 orangutans in Central Kalimantan. On this special occasion, the BOS Foundation will release its 200th orangutan. There are still 500 orangutans in our rehabilitation centres awaiting release. Due to severe forest fires in September 2015, we received 25 more orangutans. This time, we are releasing 12 orangutans that have gone through rehabilitation for more than seven years. I don’t know how long it will take us to finally be able to release these new 25, especially with all the difficulties in finding forest areas for release. We at the BOS Foundation are looking for support from the government to commit to providing a suitable and safe orangutan reintroduction area, and a strict law enforcement on various acts of habitat destruction. According to the Orangutan Action Plan, 2015 should have been the year in which all rehabilitated orangutans were released back to the wild. It is time for the government and the public to put more effort into orangutan conservation by protecting their habitat, because conserving their habitat will be beneficial to us all.”

Orangutan release programs must proceed as planned in order to reach goals set by the Indonesian Orangutan Conservation Strategy and Action Plan 2007-2017. This action plan was proclaimed by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during the Climate Change Conference in Bali, in 2007, where it was asserted that all orangutans in rehabilitation centres must be released to natural habitat by 2015. This was to be supported by government agencies at both provincial and regional levels.

This orangutan and habitat conservation effort can only be realised through collaboration between the government, and the public and private sectors. In order to safeguard orangutans and their habitat, the BOS Foundation strives to collaborate with the government on all levels, including the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the Government of Central Kalimantan Province and Murung Raya Regency, and the Central Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Agency.

The upcoming orangutan release has received significant support from the people of Murung Raya Regency, as well as individual donors and organisations, including Zoos Victoria, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, UNEP-GRASP, the Born Free Foundation and conservation organisations around the world with an interest in Indonesia’s orangutan conservation efforts. The BOS Foundation would like to thank First State Investments Indonesia and P.T. Bumi Barito Mineral (Cokal Ltd.) for their financial and logistical support, and asks for participation from other members of the business community.

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