Pre-Release Salat Nusa Islands Finally in Use

BOS Foundation: November 10, 2016

BOS Foundation Nyaru Menteng’s goal of utilising the Salat Nusa islands as a new pre-release area for rehabilitated orangutans has finally been achieved, with last week’s release of 12 Forest School graduates for the first time to Badak Kecil Island, in Pulang Pisau Regency, Central Kalimantan.

The BOS Foundation secured the acquisition of 655 hectares of forest on Badak Besar and Badak Kecil islands in 2015; however, the operational stage was halted due to technical reasons. We finally received the support we needed after establishing a partnership between various stakeholders, including the regency government, the local community, and PT Sawit Sumbermas Sarana Tbk. (PT SSMS), a company committed to environmental conservation. Once the partnership was formed, things moved quickly due to the mounting pressure of finding more pre-release areas for the BOS Foundation’s rehabilitated orangutans waiting in Nyaru Menteng.

The BOS Foundation’s Orangutan Reintroduction Program in Nyaru Menteng currently has up to 470 orangutans undergoing rehabilitation, with 91 individuals currently inhabiting three pre-release islands already in use: Palas, Kaja, and Bangamat islands, with a combined total area of 221 hectares. Meanwhile, nearly another 100 orangutans are being housed in Nyaru Menteng enclosures, as they have already completed Forest School and are awaiting their release.

The availability of Salat Island, which our survey indicated as a suitable place for pre-release purposes, is indeed a major breakthrough (Read more about Salat Island here: A Little Piece of Orangutan Heaven). Furthermore, the partnership with PT SSMS has expanded the available area to 1,434 hectares.

The recent release of these 12 orangutans was conducted in two batches, with the first batch released on November 3, 2016. The cages were opened by several VIPs – the Governor of Central Kalimantan Province, H. Sugianto Sabran; a representative for the Pulang Pisau Regent; the local village chief; Head of the Central Kalimantan BKSDA, Dr. Nandang Prihadi MSc.; the President-Director of PT SSMS, Vallauthan Subraminam; and BOS Foundation CEO Dr. Ir. Jamartin Sihite. The attendance and participation of these guests demonstrates the active and ongoing cooperation between all stakeholders concerned with orangutan and habitat conservation in Central Kalimantan.

The first batch saw the release of seven (7) orangutans, consisting of five (5) females and two (2) males. BOSF Nyaru Menteng assigned a group of technicians and a veterinarian to the island to observe the released individuals’ progress and adaptations. The second batch, consisting of five (5) more rehabilitated orangutans, was transported and released at the same spot the next day, on November 4. Our observation team have, to date, reported nothing but positive progress for all 12 released orangutans.

BOSF Nyaru Menteng plans to transfer the remaining rehabilitated orangutans – that are ready to go to pre-release islands – by the coming year. We are confident that with sound cooperation from all stakeholders, especially with the government and the people of Pulang Pisau Regency, a positive outcome shall be achieved. We will continue to strive to protect orangutans and their habitats!

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