Commemorating Indonesia’s 70th Independence Day and International Orangutan Day which occured in August, the BOS Foundation’s East Kalimantan Orangutan Reintroduction Center at Samboja Lestari is releasing another five East Kalimantan orangutans to their natural habitat.
Samboja, Kalimantan Timur, 3 September 2015. Commemorating our 70th Independence Day and the International Orangutan Day, both of which occured last month, five orangutans comprised of one male and four females are starting their journey back to natural habitat. They will be transported overland on a 2-day road trip from the BOS Foundation Orangutan Reintroduction Program Samboja Lestari in East Kalimantan straight to the release area in Kehje Sewen Forest in East Kutai and Kutai Kartanegara Regencies.
Kehje Sewen Forest is managed by PT Restorasi Habitat Orangutan Indonesia (RHOI), which was established by the BOS Foundation in order to obtain an Ecosystem Restoration Concession (IUPHHK-RE) from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry for use as an orangutan release area. Since 2012, the BOS Foundation Samboja Lestari Program has released 31 orangutans back to natural habitat in Kehje Sewen Forest. With this new release, the number will increase to 36 orangutans returned back to the forest.
Coincidentally one of the orangutans to be released called Long, is a female retrieved from an area nearby Kehje Sewen Forest. She was handed over to BOS Foundation back in 2007 by a local person from Nehas Leah Bing village who claimed to have found her in the Wehea Traditional Forest located near Kehje Sewen. Now, at 9 years old, Long is ready to go home where she belongs. Only this time, she will be placed in a more secure and suitable forest where she can see out the rest of her life in safety.
This release is in collaboration with the East Kalimantan BKSDA (Natural Resources Conservation Agency), the government of East Kalimantan Province, the government East Kutai and Kutai Kertanegara Regencies. Furthermore, the BOS Foundation also greatly appreciates the moral and financial support from partner organisations including BOS Switzerland, and from the private sector including the Bank Central Asia (BCA), as well as individual donors, other partners and conservation organisations across the globe with an interest in Indonesia’s orangutan conservation efforts.
Drh. Agus Irwanto, Program Manager of Samboja Lestari says, “We still have an obligation to release more than 150 other healthy rehabilitated orangutans who are eligable for release. We also strive to provide a better quality of life for those individuals which cannot be released due to illness or injury. Support from everyone is desperately needed to prevent this magnificent species from extinction.”
Dr. Aldrianto Priadjati as the RHOI’s Director of Conservation adds, “This release is part of a very lengthy process. Our next challenge is to ensure that orangutans do well in their new environment and establish a new viable population in Kehje Sewen Forest. We also hope that our efforts in requesting more orangutan release areas through the Ecosystem Restoration Concession scheme, whether in East or Central Kalimantan, receives support from all parties, in order to enable safe release areas for all of the orangutans currently in rehabilitation centers.”
Between early 2012 and the end of August 2015, the BOS Foundation has reintroduced 186 orangutans; 155 orangutans from Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Reintroduction Center to Bukit Batikap Conservation Forest in Central Kalimantan and 31 orangutans from Samboja Lestari Orangutan Reintroduction Center to Kehje Sewen Forest in East Kalimantan.
To ensure high success rates of our released orangutans, the Post Release Monitoring teams both in Central Kalimantan and in East Kalimantan collect daily data on orangutan behavior to monitor and evaluate orangutan adaptation in their new habitat and to provide support to individuals where needed, at the earliest possible opportunity.
By the end of August 2015, a maximum of 92.5% of our released orangutans had survived and only 14 individuals, or 7.5%, had failed to adapt to their new environment. Eight deaths occurred in Bukit Batikap Conservation Forest (Central Kalimantan) and three in Kehje Sewen Forest (East Kalimantan) plus two individuals who were retrieved from Kehje Sewen Forest and returned to Samboja Lestari due to ill health or to alleviate potential human-conflict situations.
Head of East Kalimantan BKSDA, Ir. Y. Hendradi Kusdihardjo, MM. emphasizes, “We have to remember that orangutans and the forest as their habitat belong to us all, and are protected by the government. To protect orangutans means to protect the forest. Another thing we have to remember and apply in our land management system in Indonesia; all parties, including the central government must refer to boundaries and the legal process, while protecting and preserving the environment.”
Orangutan release programs must proceed as planned in the Indonesia 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, stating that all orangutans in rehabilitation centers must be released to natural habitat by 2015 at the latest, and to be supported by government agencies at both provincial and regional levels.
Dr. Jamartin Sihite, BOSF CEO underlines, “Supervision, monitoring, and law enforcement is crucial to protect animals—in this case, orangutans—and their habitat. Therefore, the role of the East Kalimantan BKSDA and local authorities is extremely significant. Nevertheless, we also need real and serious commitment from the local government, especially the government of East Kutai Regency and Kutai Kartanegara Regency, to make this a reality. Only through law enforcement and commitment will we be able to achieve freedom and protection for orangutans, and other biodiversity which needs to be preserved to sustain the life cycle on earth.”
This release is an appeal for all the stakeholders to capitalize real actions in orangutan conservation for the mutual benefit and a better future for life on earth.
Paulina Laurensia Ela
Communication Staff Samboja Lestari
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 KehjeSewen, which translates as ‘orangutan’ in the local DayakWehea dialect. By name and nature, the KehjeSewen Forest became a forest for orangutans. For more information, please visit www.theforestforever.com.