Archives: 2015

2007 – 2015: BOS Foundation Orangutan Conservation

December 31, 2015. Posted in Article

December 2007 marked an important milestone in orangutan conservation. The President of the Republic of Indonesia at the time, Dr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, officially launched “Orangutan Conservation Strategies and Action Plan 2007-2017” during a climate change conference in Bali, acknowledging orangutan as a crucial primate species to be protected and an important part of Indonesia’s biodiversity.

The Action Plan aimed to provide guidelines to save both Sumatran and Bornean orangutans, and serve as a reference for various institutions working in orangutan conservation. Among the meticulously detailed strategies described in the Action Plan was an obligation to return all orangutans in rehabilitation centers to their natural habitat by 2015.

It is now the last day of 2015. What has BOS Foundation done to fulfill this obligation? Have we succeeded?

OU timeline 2007-2015 ENG [lowres A3]

Finding a suitable and secure forest for orangutans has been the greatest challenge. BOS Foundation conducted various surveys, worked with all levels of government, collaborated with communities, and also established a company, PT. Restorasi Habitat Orangutan Indonesia (RHOI) for the sole purpose of obtaining the right to manage natural forests under the Ecosystem Restoration Concession (ERC) scheme. Proposals to obtain ERCs, both in East and Central Kalimantan, were lodged.

RHOI was awarded an ERC permit in 2010 for a forest in East Kalimantan, which we named Kehje Sewen Forest. While waiting for ERC permit in Central Kalimantan, BOS Foundation worked with the provincial and regional governments to reintroduce orangutans in government-managed Bukit Batikap Conservation Forest. Starting February 2012 to December 2015, BOS Foundation has successfully released a total of 195 orangutans in Batikap and Kehje Sewen!

In early 2015, BOS Foundation has also acquired a 655-hectare area on Salat Island, Central Kalimantan for two main purposes—as a pre-release area for the last phase of rehabilitation, and as a sanctuary for the un-releaseable orangutans.

However, BOS Foundation has not succeeded in obtaining an ERC in Central Kalimantan. Advised by 13 mining companies planning to operate in the area, the government withdrew their support for an ERC. Finding a forest is getting harder. BOS Foundation is now trying to find other suitable and secure forests that we could use for more orangutan release site.

It is now the last day of 2015 and BOS Foundation is still caring for over 700 orangutans in its two rehabilitation centers—Samboja Lestari and Nyaru Menteng. Many are waiting their turns to return to the wild. Many more are still undergoing rehabilitation in Forest Schools. All the while, new orphaned babies are still coming through rescues, confiscations, and handovers.

BOS Foundation needs support, commitments, and real actions—financially as well as politically—from all stakeholders in the attempt to fulfill requirements stated in the Action Plan. We need each and every one of YOU!

Teks by: Rini Sucahyo, BOSF Communication Advisor

You can make a difference right now by showing your support for orangutan conservation and help save orangutans! DONATE NOW

Five Orangutans Adapting Well in Kehje Sewen Forest

December 15, 2015. Posted in Article

Our sixth orangutan release from Samboja Lestari took place on 4 September 2015. To ensure that the released orangutans are adapting well, the PRM (Post-Release Monitoring) team is regularly observing and collecting data on their behavior and assessing how they have adapted to their new life and habitat.

Our PRM team in Camp Nles Mamse have reported that after the release of Ajeng, Erica, Arief, Long, and Leonie they are all doing really well. (Read their profiles here: Samboja Lestari 6th Orangutan Release Candidate Profiles).

Ajeng

Ajeng has been basing most of her activities up in the trees and she has been an eager explorer. She also knows her natural foods very well and rattan shoots have so far been one of her favorites. Ajeng reportedly met Leonie eating forest fruits, but just continued on by, completely ignoring Leonie.

ribbet Ajeng

Erica

The PRM team has been finding it difficult to monitor Erica, as she tries to avoid us observing her by moving rapidly through the trees, stopping only to break off small branches and throw them down at us. This is a really good sign and is how wild orangutans behave – its great that she is trying to avoid humans. Erica is also eating well and has been frequently recorded eating rattan shoots and termites.

ribbet Erica by Bowo

Long and Arief

Long is still patiently accompanying her surrogate son, Arief, in Kehje Sewen Forest. Arief has been very active playing up in the trees, while his step mother Long, watches him nearby. Arief was observed accidentally bumping into a bees’ nest. He quickly hid behind Long to escape a few stings. Both climbed down to look for a safer place. As soon as it looked safe, the two went on looking for rattan shoots.

ribbet Arief

ribbet Long dan Arif

Leonie

Like Erica, Leonie appears to be completely avoiding humans. She kiss-squeaks everytime she notices one of our PRM team and moves quickly up into the trees. She does not range too far and sometimes seems quite content to sit back and relax on a tree branch. Leonie is also doing well foraging for natural foods.

ribbet Deny

We are delighted to see these five orangutans adapting well and living a happy life in their new home. We need to protect these orangutans and their habitat for years to come and we will continue to make sure they are able to live in a safe forest for the rest of their lives.

Text by: PRM team of Camp Nles Mamse, Kehje Sewen Forest

You can support our team and its monitoring activities too. Donate now to the BOS Foundation and keep our spirits high!

Five Orangutans Adapting Well in Kehje Sewen Forest

December 15, 2015. Posted in Article

To ensure that the released orangutans are adapting well, the PRM (Post-Release Monitoring) team is regularly observing and collecting data on their behavior and assessing how they have adapted to their new life and habitat.

Our PRM team in Camp Nles Mamse have reported that after the release of Ajeng, Erica, Arief, Long, and Leonie they are all doing really well. (Read their profiles here: Samboja Lestari 6th Orangutan Release Candidate Profiles).

Ajeng

Ajeng has been basing most of her activities up in the trees and she has been an eager explorer. She also knows her natural foods very well and rattan shoots have so far been one of her favorites. Ajeng reportedly met Leonie eating forest fruits, but just continued on by, completely ignoring Leonie.

ribbet Ajeng

Ajeng

Erica

The PRM team has been finding it difficult to monitor Erica, as she tries to avoid us observing her by moving rapidly through the trees, stopping only to break off small branches and throw them down at us. This is a really good sign and is how wild orangutans behave – its great that she is trying to avoid humans. Erica is also eating well and has been frequently recorded eating rattan shoots and termites.

ribbet Erica by Bowo

Erica

Long and Arief

Long is still patiently accompanying her surrogate son, Arief, in Kehje Sewen Forest. Arief has been very active playing up in the trees, while his step mother Long, watches him nearby. Arief was observed accidentally bumping into a bees’ nest. He quickly hid behind Long to escape a few stings. Both climbed down to look for a safer place. As soon as it looked safe, the two went on looking for rattan shoots.

ribbet Arief

Arief

ribbet Long dan Arif

Long and Arief

Leonie

Like Erica, Leonie appears to be completely avoiding humans. She kiss-squeaks everytime she notices one of our PRM team and moves quickly up into the trees. She does not range too far and sometimes seems quite content to sit back and relax on a tree branch. Leonie is also doing well foraging for natural foods.

ribbet Leonie

Leonie

We are delighted to see these five orangutans adapting well and living a happy life in their new home. We need to protect these orangutans and their habitat for years to come and we will continue to make sure they are able to live in a safe forest for the rest of their lives.

Text by: PRM team of Camp Nles Mamse, Kehje Sewen Forest

You can support our team and its monitoring activities too. Donate now to the BOS Foundation and keep our spirits high!

Going Home for Christmas

December 11, 2015. Posted in Article

Towards the end of 2015, BOS Foundation released another four orangutans from the East Kalimantan Orangutan Reintroduction Program in Samboja Lestari to Kehje Sewen Forest, with the support of our partner organization, BOS Switzerland.

In early December, the release team in Samboja Lestari Forest School 2 started the first preparations for transporting the orangutans back to the forest. Meanwhile, team release in Kehje Sewen Forest reported that the weather was good and it looked like that day, Tuesday, 1 December 2015, would be perfect to reintroduce Hanung, Bungan, Joni and Teresa back to natural forest in Kehje Sewen.

Amongst the four, Bungan was considered the most difficult to sedate, so we focused on her first. She was not very cooperative as suspected and vet Agnes had the task on her hands. The first attempt was unsuccessful, but the second worked beautifully. Whilst waiting for Bungan to fall asleep, we started the same process with Hanung and Joni. The latter two were quick to sleep and were moved into their own transport cages following Teresa who was already safely in hers.

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Joni

Once the anesthetic began to take effect, Bungan was moved to her waiting transport cage ready to take her to Kehje Sewen.

Bungan
Bungan

Now all four were ready to go to the clinic, where the trucks awaited to take them to the forest.

After officially inaugurating our new Special Care Unit (SCU) facility at Samboja Lestari (read the full story here: Special Care Unit for Our Orangutans in Samboja Lestari), the Swiss Ambassador to Indonesia, Mrs. Yvonne Baumann together with the Director General of Natural Resources and Ecosystem Conservation of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Dr. Ir. Tachrir Fathoni symbolically released the four orangutans bound for Kehje Sewen, before the orangutans traveled 20 hours overland to the forest.

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Into The Heart of Borneo

During the journey the orangutans were checked by our vets and technicians continuously and on Wednesday, 2 December 2015, 6 a.m., the orangutan release team arrived in Muara Wahau, the last town before Kehje Sewen Forest. Four hours later, the team stopped to switch to smaller pick-ups because the road was simply too difficult for the trucks to pass through. The orangutans were also moved from the large transport cages to smaller ones for efficiency.

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After the orangutan transfer to smaller, easier to carry transport cages was complete, Vet Agnes again examined the condition of four orangutans and gave them more fluids. Its a long final journey for our orangutans and we have to make sure they are as comfortable as possible during the entire process.

Vet Agnes Checking the orangutans
Vet Agnes Checking the orangutans

The journey recommenced. After 1 hour, the pick-up trucks reached the point where the road ends, 300 meters from Telen River. From here, the 4 orangutans had to be hand-carried down a very steep trail we dub the “Climb of Hell” for its extreme slope elevation to the bank of Telen River. Each cage was hung between two long bamboo sticks for easier carry. Even though the distance is only 300 meters, it took us about 1 hour to finish the whole cage-lifting process to the river bank.

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At the river bank, the Kehje Sewen release team took over and transported the cages safely across the river. The transport cages were moved using a small long boat, we call a “ces”. This is the easiest part of the trip and we took only 5 minutes to cross the river.

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Across the Telen river, a short yet steep climb waited. However, the difficult terrain did not discourage the team and we continued the climb to take these four orangutans back to their home.

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On top of the hill, another two 4×4 pick-up trucks were waiting for the orangutans. Each truck can carry 2 cages plus release crews to the release points, about 2 kilometers away from Nles Mamse Camp in the southern part of Kehje Sewen.

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Slippery trails, as the result of heavy rain the night before, delayed us and it took 2 hours to reach the release points.

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Home Sweet Home

Hanung was the first to be released. Dr. Elisabeth Labes, Head of International Projects and Partner Relations, also one of the co-founders of BOS Switzerland had the honor of opening Hanung’s cage. Hanung seemed a bit disoriented and it took him a while before grabbed the nearest liana and started to climb higher and higher. Hanung was free!

Hanung was the first to be released.
Hanung was the first to be released

Next was Bungan, released by the BOS Foundation’s CEO, Dr. Ir. Jamartin Sihite. Unlike Hanung, Bungan did not waste her time. She quickly climbed up a Macaranga tree and started to eat the ripe fruit.

BOS Foundation's CEO, Dr. Ir. Jamartin Sihite opened Bungan’s cage.
BOS Foundation’s CEO, Dr. Ir. Jamartin Sihite opened Bungan’s cage

The Post-Release Monitoring (PRM) technician of the year in Nles Mamse Camp, Jafar, released Joni, who went straight to the nearest tree, joining Bungan.

Joni’s cage was opened by Jafar
Joni’s cage was opened by Jafar

Teresa’s transport cage was the last to be opened by Maria Ulfah, from our RHOI finance team. The beautiful Teresa also quickly dashed out and went to the nearest tree.

Teresa’s cage was opened by Maria Ulfah
Teresa’s cage was opened by Maria Ulfah

The PRM team then took over. Each orangutan is followed by two PRM technicians with task of observing and recording data on the orangutans activities each and every day until we assess they have adapted well to their new forest home. Later that night, we were glad to hear the results of the days monitoring.

Hanung found and ate fig fruit and young leaves and then he travelled around the area investigating his new home. Late afternoon, he built a nest in a Macaranga tree for a much deserved rest after a long journey. Right before he lay down, Hanung made a kiss-squeak showing his displeasure of human presence nearby, then called it a day.

Bungan fed on Macaranga, and Liana and Artocarpus bark, then quickly built a nest. When rain fell later in the day, she made an umbrella made of Macaranga leaves to protect her from the elements.

Similar to Bungan, Joni ate fig and Liana leaves, then quickly constructed a nest nearby to his feeding tree. Whilst Teresa fed everytime she moved to a new tree. Right before it got dark, Teresa built a nest of her own in a Macaranga tree.

The arrival of these new four orangutans brings the total number of orangutans released in Kehje Sewen to 40. Interestingly, Bungan and Teresa both originally came from the area around Kehje Sewen Forest. Bungan was handed over to BOS Foundation Samboja Lestari in 2007, by a local person from Samarinda who informed us that Bungan was found somewhere in Muara Wahau. Whilst Teresa was confiscated by BKSDA Tenggarong from a local person in Muara Wahau, and then handed over to the BOS Foundation team at Samboja Lestari in 2010. Both are now literally back where they belong. The difference being that the area they now reside in is safe and focused on long-term orangutan conservation.

Hanung, Bungan, Joni and Teresa have a new life in the forest. The new life they deserve and are entitled to, a life of freedom. From now on, the Kehje Sewen is their new home.

Welcome to your new home!

Text by: Paulina L. Ela, Communication Specialist

You can support our team and its monitoring activities too. Donate now to the BOS Foundation and keep our spirits high!

CANDIDATE PROFILES of SAMBOJA LESTARI’s 7th ORANGUTAN RELEASE

December 2, 2015. Posted in Article

As 2015 draws to an end, the BOS Foundation releases 4 orangutans from the East Kalimantan Orangutan Reintroduction Program in Samboja Lestari to Kehje Sewen Forest.

JONI

Joni

Joni is a male, confiscated by BKSDA area II in Tenggarong from a local resident in Samarinda, East Kalimantan. Then, he was handed over by BKSDA to Samboja Lestari to undergo rehabilitation process. He began his rehabilitation process on March 11, 2014 when he was 6 years old.

After a year in the rehabilitation center, Joni has become a student of level 2 Forest School known for his independent nature and exploring skills. He is a very active moving around trees and exceptionally good at foraging. Joni would also spend nights at the forest.

This black-thin-haired attractiove male orangutan is now 7 years old and weighs 21 kg. It is time for him to prove and apply them as a true wild orangutan in Kehje Sewen Forest.

HANUNG

Hanung

Hanung was submitted to Samboja Lestari on June 28 2007 after handed over by a Balikpapan resident. Post quarantine period, Hanung join the Forest School group to regain his natural abilities and behavior.

This male with thin dark brown hair and a thick reddish beard is a friendly character and loves to mingle with others. He is very active and roams the forest intensively. However friendly Hanung is, he does not like to get annoyed of have his food snatched by others.

Now, Hanung is 9 years old and weighs 31 kg. This fierce looking orangutan will be shortly departs for Kehje Sewen Forest, where he will become a true wild orangutan.

TERESA

Teresa

Teresa is a female who was confiscated by BKSDA area II in Tenggarong from a local resident in Muara Wahau sub-district, East Kalimantan on June 18 2010. When handed over to Samboja Lestari, she was 2 years old and started her rehabilitation process in Samboja Lestari by joining the Forest School.

Skills on building nests, identify natural predators, and foraging have been well-mastered by Teresa. Her curiousity also helps her to become active and exploring corners of Forest School in Samboja Lestari.

This beautiful female orangutan is 7 years old now and weighing 29 kg. After five years of rehabilitation process in Samboja Lestari, Teresa would get a new chance to enjoy her freedom as a true wild orangutan. The upcoming release activities is literally a homecoming trip for Teresa and Bungan; they will be going home.

BUNGAN

Bungan

Bungan was submitted to Samboja Lestari on May 24 2007 after handed over by a resident of Muara Wahau sub-district. At that time, this female orangutan was 1 year old.

Bungan has grown into an independent and strong female orangutan. Bungan’s skills grew rapidly in Forest School. She is intelligent in choosing natural foods, building nests and she spends most of her time in the trees. She likes to teach younger orangutans.

This beautiful dark-brown-haired Bungan is now 9 years old and weighs 32 kg. For the last eight years in Samboja Lestari, Bungan has learned many forest-survival skills. She is now only days away from starting her new life as a true wild orangutan in the Kehje Sewen Forest. The upcoming release activities is literally a homecoming trip for Bungan who loves to play with water alongside her best buddies, Hanung and previously released Leonie and long.

[PRESS RELEASE] BOS Foundation Inaugurates a Special Care Unit and Simultaneously Releases 4 Orangutans in East Kalimantan

December 1, 2015. Posted in Article

As 2015 draws to an end, the BOS Foundation inaugurates a new facility, a Special Care Unit, built with support from BOS Switzerland, a partner of the BOS Foundation, and releases 4 orangutans from the East Kalimantan Orangutan Reintroduction Program in Samboja Lestari to Kehje Sewen Forest.

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Samboja Lestari, East Kalimantan, 1 December 2015. Support for orangutan and habitat conservation efforts are received from around the globe. People from Switzerland have joined this effort and significantly contributed in responding to the call for help to conserve the only great ape species found in Asia.

Financial support was received from BOS Switzerland, a partner of the BOS Foundation, for the East Kalimantan Orangutan Reintroduction Program in Samboja Lestari (Samboja Lestari) which has enabled the construction of a Special Care Unit (SCU) with capacity to house 50 individual orangutans, together with support for our orangutan release events; and other conservation related activities in the Kehje Sewen Forest which is managed by PT Restorasi Habitat Orangutan Indonesia (PT RHOI).

It is estimated that around 10% of the orangutans under the care of the BOS Foundation are unreleaseable due to various conditions, such as illness, disabilites, or insufficient wild behavior as a consequence of extensive human contact whilst held in illegal captivity prior to their arrival in Samboja Lestari. These conditions sadly mean they would not be able to survive in the wild.

The BOS Foundation is committed to ensuring that these orangutans will be given the best possible care in a suitable environment. The BOS Foundation has been planning this facility for more than six years and thankfully, funds made available by their partner BOS Switzerland, has finally made this a reality.

The construction of this new facility commenced in May and is now ready for operation. The SCU will be inaugurated on 1 December 2015, is equipped with various enrichment facilities with the purpose of stimulating intelligence and providing various foods in novel ways to ensure the orangutans are continuously learning. In addition, BOS Australia, also a partner of the BOS Foundation, has provided support to fund a special waste water management system to ensure the wellfare of our orangutans. The unreleaseable orangutans will be transferred from their existing enclosure to the new SCU immediately.

The Swiss Ambassador to Indonesia, Mrs. Yvonne Baumann, attends the inauguration ceremony out of her deep concern of environmental issues and passion to observe and learn all aspects of orangutan conservation activities in which the BOS Foundation engages and show support as the representative of the Swiss government in Indonesia towards orangutan conservation. During this visit, Ambassador Baumann will also inaugurate the Special Care Unit which was built through the support of BOS Switzerland.

Yvonne Baumann, Swiss Ambassador to Indonesia said, “In order to conserve endangered species such as orangutans, we need significant commitment from all parties involved. This year, the Swiss Embassy in Indonesia has helped fund a 5 hectare replanting program within Samboja Lestari in a area devasted by fire outbreaks just weeks ago. Today, I am delighted to finally be able to see the important work of the BOS Foundation.”

Dr. Ir. Jamartin Sihite, BOS Foundation CEO said, “We warmly welcome Ambassador Baumann and thank her deep interest in the BOS Foundation and the orangutan conservation efforts we are implementing. Her presence here as the representative of the Swiss government in Indonesia shows goodwill in supporting our orangutan conservation activities.”

“We still bear the responsibility to ensure the wellfare of all orangutans under our care within our reintroduction centers, including those individuals who can never be returned to the wild. We have already released many orangutans back to natural forest, but this is a huge task and we still have hundreds of orangutans ready and waiting for release., We call on everyone to help support this effort. The government, in this case, the East Kalimantan BKSDA and related authorities have given us much support, however we still need commitments from the local government of East Kutai and Kutai Kertanegara regencies to help and take real action in protecting the orangutans we have released through strict law enforcement to ensure the long-term preservation and protection of orangutans and habitat in East Kalimantan,” Dr. Sihite adds.

The General Director of Natural Resources and Ecosystem Conservation (Dirjen KSDAE) of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Dr Ir Tachrir Fathoni, responded by saying, “Conservation of orangutans and their habitat is our common responsibility. Orangutans are protected by law. Their population within rehabilitation centers is still huge and we need to return them back to the forest, once they are ready for release. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry enthusiastically supports all aspects of orangutan and habitat conservation effort. It is our common duty, both the central and local government and the good people of East Kalimantan to take care of and preserve our forests. Our success towards protecting endangered animals and their habitat detemines what the next generation will inherit from us.”

Parallel to the inauguration of the SCU, the BOS Foundation also releases four individual orangutans from Samboja Lestari. These four individuals, comprising of two males and two females, will start the release journey overland for two days from Samboja Lestari to the release area in Kehje Sewen Forest in Kutai Timur and Kutai Kartanegara regencies, East Kalimantan.

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From 2012 to date, the BOS Foundation Samboja Lestari Program has released 36 orangutans back to their natural habitat in Kehje Sewen Forest. The number now changes with the release of four more individuals, to 40 orangutans which have been returned to the forest.

Interestingly the two female orangutan candidates, Teresa and Bungan, both came from forest areas around Kehje Sewen Forest. Teresa was confiscated by BKSDA Tenggarong from a local person in Muara Wahau and handed over to BOS Foundation in 2010. Whilst Bungan arrived even earlier, in 2007 through a handover from a local resident of Samarinda who said that the baby was also found in Muara Wahau. Now, 7 year-old Teresa and 9 year-old Bungan are ready to go home where they belong. Though, this time the area they will be released into is much safer and more suitable for their long-term conservation.

Drh. Agus Irwanto, Samboja Lestari Program Manager says, “We are proud to be able to release four more orangutans. This has been a long wait for them to return to natural habitat. These orangutans belong to the government and have been entrusted to us and we have rehabilitated them for several years. I hope that this will be the beginning of a wonderful journey for them to live in natural habitat, just like the orangutans we have previously released.”

Dr. Aldrianto Priadjati, the Conservation Director of PT RHOI adds, “We face a constant challenge to ensure that our rehabilitated orangutans are ready for release, and that the orangutans we have already released can adapt well and reproduce in natural habitat. Furthermore, we are still trying to obtain other orangutan release areas under the Ecosystem Restoration Concession scheme, both in East and Central Kalimantan. We desperately need support from all parties and stakeholders to help ensure all the orangutans currently in our rehabilitation centers can be released as soon as possible.”

Dr. Elisabeth Labes, Co-founder, Head of International Projects and Partner Relations for BOS Switzerland says: “Unfortunately, under specific circumstances, orangutans cannot be released back into the wild. We have to make sure that these individuals receive the best possible care since they will have to live in the care of BOS Foundation for the rest of their lives. I am very happy that BOS Switzerland has been able to provide the funds for the construction of such an important facility. It is a special honour for us that the Ambassador of our country, Yvonne Baumann, will attend the inauguration of the new Special Care Unit and that the Embassy of Switzerland has given their generous support for the replanting of 5 hectares of forest after the recent devastating fires in Samboja Lestari.”

This release is conducted through the collaboration of the East Kalimantan BKSDA, Provincial Government of East Kalimantan, government of East Kutai and Kutai Kartanegara regencies, as well as the people of East Kutai and Kutai Kartanegara regencies. The BOS Foundation is extremely grateful for the moral and financial support from BOS Switzerland, individual donors, other partners and organizations around the world concerned with orangutan conservation efforts in Indonesia.

Contact:

Paulina Laurensia

Communication Specialist

Email: pauline@orangutan.or.id

Suwardi

Communication Staff Samboja Lestari

Email: ardy@orangutan.or.id

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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.

 

ABOUT PT RHOI

PT Restorasi Habitat Orangutan Indonesia (RHOI) is a company that was established by the BOS Foundation on April 21, 2009, solely to acquire the Utilization of Forest Timber Products through Restoration of the Ecosystem (IUPHHK-RE), also known as an Ecosystem Restoration Concession (ERC).

As a non-profit organization the BOS Foundation is not allowed to apply for this license due to government regulations. Hence, RHOI was established. This permit enables RHOI authority on managing a concession area—in this case, a forest area—the most important aspect in an orangutan release process.

On August 18, 2010, RHOI was issued an ERC permit, giving them the authority to use and manage 86,450 hectares of rainforest in East Kutai and Kutai Kertanegara Regencies, East Kalimantan. This concession provides a sustainable and secure habitat for orangutans for at least 60 years, with the option of extending for another 35 years. Issued by the Ministry of Forestry, this ERC license cost around US$1.4 million, which was funded by generous donations from donors and the BOS Foundation’s partner organizations in Europe, Australia and the USA.

RHOI named this forest Kehje Sewen, which translates as ‘orangutan’ in the local Dayak Wehea dialect. By name and nature, the Kehje Sewen Forest became a forest for orangutans. For more information, please visit www.theforestforever.com.

New Camp in South of Kehje Sewen

November 10, 2015. Posted in Article

To support our orangutan reintrodution program in East Kalimantan, the BOS Foundation and PT RHOI (Restorasi Habitat Orangutan Indonesia) built a new camp in the southern part of Kehje Sewen Forest to ensure we can properly monitor the newly reintroduced orangutans in this area. One post-release monitoring team is stationed here and deployed daily to observe the progress and adaptation of our released orangutans.

This new camp is called Nles Mamse and construction started in August 2015. The name Nles Mamse was given by the local Wehean Dayak tribe. Whilst under construction, the PRM team were living in a flying (temporary) camp so we could still adequately monitor the orangutans we reintroduced in September.

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Despite living under a temporary roof, the PRM team made the camp as cozy as possible. They maintained the basic hut there, and also renovated the trail heading towards the release points. This trail was formerly a track used by a logging company working in the Kehje Sewen area. Since it had been abandoned for many years, it was completely covered with new secondary vegetation.

Prior to the release day on September 4th, the field team worked hard to fix and clear the trail of wooden stumps and boulders. The team had to make sure the track was clear of obstacles that might damage our 4-wheel drive pickup truck which was needed to transport the orangutans themselvs and logistics to support the team.

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On the August 31, the almost finished Nles Mamse camp was inaugurated. The Head of RHOI’s Operational and Planning Bureau, Ariyo Sambodo who led the advance team and had the responsibility of preparing the camp and the release points, gave a speech to the team.

“We hope our new Nles Mamse camp will be a comfortable place to live on and bring happiness to our colleagues conducting post-release monitoring in South Kehje Sewen,” said Ariyo.

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The inauguration was a great success and thanks to our two camp chefs, Mbak Sri and Mbak Sum, everyone thoroughly enjoyed the excellent meal. Not surprising when you consider the exhausting daily activities that the team experiences in the forest.

With new infrastructure in place, refresher trainings were implemented by our BMP (Best Management Practice) Specialist, Eko Prasetyo to ensure that our new PRM team members were properly trained in all areas of post-release monitoring; from GPS and radio tracking use to orangutan behaviour. This knowledge was strengthened with training on tree species identification which is needed for phenology surveys and to record what the orangutans are eating. This training is instrumental for recording accurate data.

pageNles Mamse camp is now up and running. This building is equipped with solar panels for light during the night, and to support the PRM team collecting monitoring data on Ajeng, Long, Arief, Leonie and Erica who we released in September.

catsWe hope this camp serves as a happy place of work for our orangutan warriors in southern Kehje Sewen Forest.

Text by: BOSF-RHOI Communication Team

You can support our team and its monitoring activities too. Donate now to the BOS Foundation and keep our spirits high!

Yayang and Her Healthy Children

November 3, 2015. Posted in Article

It had been a while since we had observed Yayang and her family, so the PRM team in the northern part of the Kehje Sewen Forest dedicated several days to collect observational data on these three orangutans. Before leaving Camp Lesik the team tried to locate Yayang using a radio telemetry, which indicates a signal once it detects the individual orangutan’s transmission.

patroli yayang by rusda

After hours of combing the forest, the team – Arif, Rizal and Ilham – were unable to pick up a strong signal from Yayang’s transmitter and therefore couldn’t locate her position.

However, at around 2 p.m., the team at Camp Lesik spotted Yayang roaming around the camp. They quickly took the opportunity to observe Yayang, whilst Arif, Rizal and Ilham, who were still in the forest, continued to patrol for another orangutan’s signals.

Yayang and her clinging baby were observed spending most of their time in the trees, occasionally climbing down to pluck shoots. Sayang, who was several-hundred meters away, was observed doing her own thing and resting.

FOTO 2 - FOTO YAYANG & BAYINYA bu Usup

FOTO 3 - FOTO BAYI YAYANG CLOSE UP by Luy

sayang by handoko

In the late afternoon, Yayang returned to the Kehje Sewen forest, while Sayang made her nest not far from the camp.

It was lovely to see Yayang, Sayang and the baby in good health and all doing very well. Yayang has proven herself a good mother to her two children, and it is a joy to witness Sayang’s progress as she matures into an active and independent soul in the Kehje Sewen Forest.

Text by: PRM team in Camp Lesik, Kehje Sewen Forest

You can support our team and its monitoring activities too. Donate now to the BOS Foundation and keep our spirits high!

Phenology of Lembu

October 27, 2015. Posted in Article

As always, weather permitting in Borneo, we had to wait for the rain to stop before we set off on our trip to Lembu from Camp Lesik. It was time to collect monthly phenology data at Lembu, and we would be spending two nights in a basic camp by the river. Phenology is a branch of ecological science that studies the timing of recurring biological events in plants. In Kehje Sewen forest, phenology data is collected monthly during which Post Relase Monitoring (PRM) team records when the plants flower, produce fruit, etc. One of the purposes of phenology data collection is to determine when and where we should release orangutans.

I wasn’t too sure what to expect, but we packed bags full of rice, noodles, tinned sardines, snacks and much needed logistics.

Eventually, when the rain stopped Rusda, Handoko and I set off for our temporary camp. We began walking along the road towards the river, and then when we eventually made it to the river it was socks off and trousers rolled up – we were going in! The camp was not too far, but with the zig-zagging across the river along with balancing all our belongings on our back it took a lot more time.

Feeling through the water with our feet to make sure we had a sturdy enough rock to step onto, I only knew it was a matter of time before I fell in. The water was not too high, Rusda had told me that sometimes they have had to wade through the river chest deep, this time for us it only just reached the top of our legs.

FOTO 1 menyebrangi sungai lembu by handoko

Part of the journey was broken up with small tracks alongside the river, and this is where I was re-acquainted with the many leeches! Without the protection of my football socks over my trousers, the slimy creatures found it a perfect opportunity to latch on to my feet and legs as we marched through the damp undergrowth. Despite the leeches (which I decided I would rather have wet socks than having to find another latched on to me), this was a part I particularly enjoyed. Strong smells of tropical plants, every now and then a musty animal scent which only made you wonder which animals regularly made the trip to the river’s edge when we were not around. Eventually, after slicing our way through beautiful scenery and ducking and weaving through vines, we made it to Camp Lembu.

FOTO 2 camp feno lembu by lucy A

The camp was a scaffold of logs and trees, all in place for tarpaulin to be attached and rice sack beds to be made. After an afternoon coffee, the camp began to take shape (with thanks to Rusda and Handoko) and soon enough once the shelter was over our heads our home was ready for the next two nights.

We settled for a meal of tinned sardines in tomato sauce with rice and waited for the night to close in around us. The great thing about the forest is you can tell the time by the sounds, right on cue the 6 o’clock cicada started its piercing call cutting through the blend of other sounds. Once it was night, there was not much else to do other than get comfortable and fall to sleep as the nocturnal forest awakes.

Waking up at 5:45 am in the forest is easy with the buildup of different sounds pulling you out of your deep sleep. We had breakfast, and prepared the data sheets and ourselves for a long day ahead. Marching through the trees and jumping over fallen logs, we reached the phenology trail and began to record the data on young leaves, flowering trees, ripe fruit and unripe fruit. We were two hours into our task when in true rainforest style; the skies opened above us and down came the rain. This made it difficult to record data and to look up at the trees so we waited again for the rain to stop.

FOTO 4 tim feno lembu by rusda

When the rain slowly began to lift, we continued our data collection. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t easy. Up and down hills, hanging onto vines to help abseil down the side of hills, using the vines to help climb up and always being aware not to grab onto the spikey rattan for support!

Every now and then we would hear crashes in the trees and the work would freeze, all looking to see if an orangutan had come to check out what we were doing, unfortunately not this time. After the data was collected, we headed back to camp the way we came which seemed so close when we were not looking at the trees! Getting back to camp and having a refreshing wash in the river was much needed, and we again settled to the sound of the 6 o’clock cicada and eventually fell asleep.

Gibbons woke me the next morning, chorusing their songs to one another and it was fantastic! As we were cooking up breakfast, two gibbons trapezed their way over to us and stopped above the camp as if to see what we were up to. After they had satisfied their curiosity they left us as quickly as they joined us – returning to their morning songs.

This day was the beginning of a new section of phenology, and this was a steep one! We climbed up and down, up and down, following the phenology trail and hunting for tags. One fantastic part of the trek was an opening in the canopy. A landslide had taken dozens of trees with it, causing a gap which opened up to the most fantastic view. You could hear the hornbills clearly, look across to see the thick roof of the forest on the opposite hill… accompanied with a welcoming breeze – a view you seldom get when trekking through the undergrowth, a whole different world.

Scrambling around to the other side, we had to find the continuing trail. Luckily Handoko and Rusda know the forest well and can duck, weave, and climb their way through the trees with ease which definitely speeded up the process of regaining our trail. After persistent work collecting data, batting away bees, flicking off leeches and brushing off ants… we finally finished what we set out to do. We headed back to camp, to collect our things and make our way back to base Camp Lesik. The walk back was beautiful… the sun was shining and lighting up the top of the water, amplifying the colours of the bright and beautiful dragonflies that darted across the surface then suddenly stopped statue like on a shimmering log or rock.

FOTO 5 pengambilan data fenologi by handoko

It felt good to get back to base camp, we were all pretty tired and we’re looking forward to a well-deserved wash and clean clothes. All in all, a successful, beautiful, exciting and exhausting phenology trip to Lembu!

Text by: Lucy, PRM Volunteer in Camp Lesik, Kehje Sewen Forest

You can support our team and its monitoring activities too. Donate now to the BOS Foundation and keep our spirits high!

A Month of Experience in the Kehje Sewen Forest (2 – Finish)

October 20, 2015. Posted in Article

Time really does go quickly when we are having fun! Without my realising it, 15 days had soon passed since my arrival at Camp Nles Mamse in the south of the Kehje Sewen Forest. Therefore, it was time for me to move on to Camp Lesik in the northern part of the forest. I had never been there before, so this was an opportunity I did not want to miss.

However before Camp Lesik, I had to return to Muara Wahau, to shop for logistics for 3 days and to join another team there. For the journey, I had the Camp Lesik coordinator, Muhamad Rusda Yakin and technician, Awal Choirianto for company. In Muara Wahau, we joined vets Hafix and Moris from Samboja Lestari, along with some foreign volunteers who were going to help conduct PRM and renovate Camp Lesik’s sanitary facility.

My trip was full of surprises. After dropping logistics back at Camp Nies Mamse, our car broke down about 800 meters away from the camp, just after sun set.  And in the growing darkness, we could hear the sound of a growling sun bear!

We struggled to keep our composure and finally it paid off. We restarted the car and managed to drive all the way to Pelangsiran. Once there, we encountered another steep ridge and a sling river crossing; I had to swing across the river in the dark. It felt like an endless adventure to me. That night it was too late to reach camp and we stayed at Pelangsiran, a small transit settlement on the outskirts of Kehje Sewen Forest.

Sling

The next morning we began what turned out to be an exhausting hike to Camp Lesik, due to unpredictable road conditions. But all of my fatigue suddenly disappeared when I got there. A beautiful range of hills, lots of fresh air and the echoing sound of hornbills welcomed us. I love it there!

At Camp Lesik, the team had the task of evacuating Lesan. She had been released into Kehje Sewen in 2012, but recently she had been spending a lot of time around camp. That day, we spotted Lesan together with Hamzah, close-by. This meant we had to adjust our plan and evacuate both Lesan and Hamzah to Peapung, about 1 km away from Camp Lesik.

The next day, Lesan was still with Hamzah near the camp area. Later in the afternoon, at approximately about 2.30pm, an evacuation team consisting of Rusda, vet Hafiz, Moris, Arif, Pak Ramli, Rizal,and Handoko finally succeeded in tranquillising and then carrying both Lesan and Hamzah to Peapung.  To reach Peapung the team had to carry the heavy transport cages containing Lesan and Hamzah across a fast flowing river.  The team are used to navigating difficult terrain and continued without incident.

As with any normal release, we conducted observations and followed the two orangutans until they nested before dark.  Unfortunately heavy rain fell that night, and we had to postpone the next day’s patrol due to a flooded river that was impossible for us to cross.

Soon, with all tasks completed, it was time for me to go back home to Jakarta.

On the way home, we dropped by Samboja Lestari, which was unfortunately subjected to a large forest fire for days. We arrived on the 25th September at dawn to find that the fire was still burning! However, with pride I can say that our motto became “This event, no matter how bad, will never bury our spirit”.

It has been an extraordinary experience for me working and living for a month in Kehje Sewen Forest, East Kalimantan. There are no words such “weary” or “tired” in our vocabulary because we are determined to ensure a better life for orangutans and preserve nature for the future.

Text by Rika Safira, RHOI PRM Staff

You can support our team and its monitoring activities too. DONATE NOW to the BOS Foundation and keep our spirits high!