Archives: 2016

September 23, 2016. Posted in Article

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Even Brief Journeys Hold Surprises (1)

September 8, 2016. Posted in Article

As coordinator of the RHOI Post-Release Monitoring (PRM) team, it is my job to make preparations for the next orangutan release in East Kalimantan. I am responsible for organising the monitoring and assessing of release candidates from Samboja Lestari, and for the selection of suitable release points in the Kehje Sewen Forest. Due to pressing office duties, I’ve only had one week to prepare!

Fortunately, I work alongside three dedicated individuals who care greatly about orangutan conservation: Indonesia’s leading primatologist and orangutan expert, Dr. Sri Suci Utami Atmoko, who was also my lecturer at National University, in Jakarta; Assistant Manager for Animal Welfare in Samboja Lestari, Christian Nicholas Pranoto; and Misdi, an orangutan researcher who was the coordinator of Tuanan Camp for the Mawas Conservation Program, in Central Kalimantan, from 2014-2015.

From left to right: Dr. Sri Suci Utami Atmoko, Misdi, Myself, and Christian

Preparations for the next release are already underway in the BOS Foundation’s Samboja Lestari Orangutan Reintroduction Program – we have already had many group discussions, and have selected the most appropriate individuals ready for release. There are certain criteria rehabilitated orangutans need to fulfil before they are deemed released-ready. Release candidates must be healthy; have graduated from Forest School; spent a length of time on a pre-release island; show consistent independent behaviour and a dislike for human presence (where they exhibit behaviours such as kiss-squeaking); and be of mature age. We have five rehabilitated orangutans that fit the requirements, yet these names and numbers could change prior to the release.

After determining our candidates, our next task was to choose release points in the southern part of the Kehje Sewen Forest. There were two areas we thought would be worth surveying; one at the old Mugi Triman Camp, and one more at a phenology transect.

On the first day of our recent survey trip, we went to the old Mugi Triman Camp (Mugi Triman is the name of a timber company that used to operate in the area). This location, which is about three kilometres from Nles Mamse Camp, was used for our last release in May 2016. Our PRM team have reported that the orangutans released in May have long moved away from the area, thus, we initially considered the area a good option for the planned August release. However, on the way to the area we found a critical bridge had collapsed. We decided the alternative route would be too risky, considering the release team would have to lift the transport cages, which can weigh more than 100 kilograms.

A 15-20 meter trail, , with a dangerous 8-10 meter-deep cliff on both sides, on the way to the old Mugi Triman Camp

The following day, we checked the next option; the area around a phenology transect, located about 4 kilometres from Nles Mamse Camp. Our PRM team had last surveyed the area in 2015, and found the area to be accessible by car with only minor labour required to clear the path. We have deemed this the obvious best choice for the release.

The phenology transect area

Stay tuned to RHOI website to find out more on my journey in the Kehje Sewen Forest!

Text by: Rika Safira, PRM Coordinator for RHOI at Headquarter

In celebration of the BOS Foundation’s 25th anniversary this year, we hope that the orangutans will continue to live safely in their new natural habitat. We will do our best to continuously monitor their progress and look forward to some new exciting reports on their adaptation this year! You can keep support our team and our monitoring activities. DONATE NOW to BOS Foundation and make a difference to the future survival of orangutans!

Angely in Her Comfort Zone

August 30, 2016. Posted in Article

On a chilly August morning in the Kehje Sewen Forest, three of our PRM team members from Camp Nles Mamse (Rizal, Yosi and Luy) set out to conduct nest-to-nest observations on Angely, a female orangutan the BOS Foundation released in May. Nest-to-nest observations involve documenting the daily activities of one orangutan for a whole day, from dawn until dusk.

After Angely had risen from her nest, she went straight to a nearby rambutan tree and spent some time eating its fruit. She then relaxed on a branch and enjoyed the cool breeze floating through the Kehje Sewen Forest.

Angely enjoys the fresh breeze in the Kehje Sewen Forest

After half an hour, Angely got up from her resting spot and moved through the trees. She finally stopped in an Artocarpus sp. tree; a species of plant related to breadfruit and jackfruit that produces one of Angely’s favourite fruits.

Angely eats Artocarpus sp.

Angely explored the area around her but stayed in close proximity to her nest, and by midday returned back to it to rest for about two hours. After her rest, she climbed down in search of shoots and fruits growing near the forest floor.

Angely eats shoots on the ground

Rain fell rather unexpectedly just as the sun was about to set and the forest began to descend into darkness. Angely didn’t seem to mind much, and continued eating. Perhaps she was filling up so she could sleep well that night. After she was satisfied, Angely climbed back up to her nest and made herself comfortable. The team walked back to Camp Lesik around 6 p.m. once Angely had settled for the night.

This is the second time our team has successfully documented nest-to-nest observations on Angely – the other time occurring just a few weeks ago. (Read the full story here: Angely Enjoys Her New Life in the Kehje Sewen Forest). From what the team could tell Angely appeared in very good condition. While she didn’t roam too far from her nest, Angely actively foraged and seemed to enjoy being in her little comfort zone.

It was a pleasure to observe you Angely, stay healthy!

Text by: Rizal, PRM team in Camp Nles Mamse

This year is the BOS Foundation’s 25th anniversary. We hope our released orangutans will continue to live safely in their new, natural habitats. We will do our best to monitor their progress and we look forward to some exciting new reports on their adaptations throughout the year! You can support our team and our monitoring activities. DONATE NOW to the BOS Foundation and make a difference to the future survival of orangutans!

Snakes of the Kehje Sewen Forest

August 23, 2016. Posted in Article

The Kehje Sewen Forest is incredibly rich in both flora and fauna. Various species of snake can be found in the Kehje Sewen Forest, including:

The Stripe-Tailed Bronzeback Tree Snake (Dendrelaphis caudolineatus), or as the locals call it, “Ular Tambang”, is a small and rather thin snake that can grow to a length of 180 cm. This snake can be found in lowland forests up to mountain forests, and feeds on lizards and tree frogs. The Stripe-Tailed Bronzeback can be found in Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, and in Indonesia can be found in Belitung, Nias, Kalimantan and Sumatra.

Stripe-Tailed Bronzeback Tree Snake or “Ular Tambang” (Dendrelaphis caudolineatus)

The Bornean Pit Viper (Trimeresurus borneensis) is endemic to Kalimantan and can be found in the swamps and bushes of lowland forests. This particular snake produces strong venom and bites with extraordinary speed, although its bite is not fatal. Its bite discomforts the recipient with a burn-like sensation and leaves the skin swollen. The Bornean Vit Viper feeds on small mammals, such as mice, and hides skilfully between the leaves, making it hard to see.

Bornean Pit Viper (Trimeresurus borneensis)

The King Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) is the largest venomous snake found in the Kehje Sewen Forest. This snake can grow to six meters, and without immediate medical attention, its bite causes death. It can be found in lowland forests, agricultural areas, fields and residential areas, and its main prey include lizards and other snakes. The King Cobra can also be found in other Southeast-Asian countries such as Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Malaysia, and in Indonesia is found in Sumatra, Belitung, Kalimantan, Java, Bali, and other islands. The King Cobra can also be found in East-Asian countries such as Pakistan, India, Bhutan, Nepal and China.

King Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah)

The Red-Tailed Racer snake (Gonyosoma oxycephala), or “Ular Ekor Mati/Ular Gadung Luwuk” as it is known locally, is also found in the Kehje Sewen Forest. It can be found in primary and secondary forests, mangroves, swamps, wet bushland areas, plantations and lowland forests up to 1,300 metres above sea level. The Red-Tailed Racer snake feeds on small mammals, bats, birds and eggs, and can be found in Kalimantan, Sumatra, Java, Bali, Lombok and Sulawesi. This snake is diurnal; it is only active in the hottest part of the day.

The Red-Tailed Racer, or “Ular Ekor Mati/Ular Gadung Luwuk” (Gonyosoma oxycephala)

Every living creature on earth has its own significant role in the cycle of life. Snakes, for example, help keep rodent and other pest populations down. Therefore, we need to ensure snakes are protected so that forest ecosystems remain in balance.

Snakes are very good at adapting to diverse environments, even in areas where humans have taken hold. But, our fear of animals such as snakes can threaten their survival; we need to arm ourselves with knowledge and change our perception of snakes as dangerous, unsavoury characters. Let’s support RHOI and help protect the earth and all its creatures, great and small.

Text by: PRM team in Kehje Sewen Forest

In celebration of the BOS Foundation’s 25th anniversary this year, we hope that the orangutans will continue to live safely in their new natural habitat. We will do our best to continuously monitor their progress and look forward to some new exciting reports on their adaptation this year! You can keep support our team and our monitoring activities. DONATE NOW to the BOS Foundation and make a difference to the future survival of orangutans!

Observing Beautiful Bungan

August 16, 2016. Posted in Article

A few days ago, Luy and Riki from our PRM team in Camp Nles Mamse went on an observation patrol at Pelangsiran; a small transit village located on the edge of the Kehje Sewen Forest. They picked up a strong signal from Bungan near the water springs and located her in a low tree.

Bungan seemed oblivious to her observers and was preoccupied with going about her daily activities. The team members followed her as she moved from tree to tree to forage and explored the forest floor for edible shoots.

Bungan foraging in the trees

Bungan heartily eating shoots on the ground

The afternoon brought dark rainclouds over the Kehje Sewen Forest and Luy and Riki were forced to retreat to camp to avoid a heavy downpour.

The next day, Riki and Sion continued the patrol at Pelangsiran, with high hopes of catching up with Bungan once more. After two hours trying in vain to pick up Bungan’s signal, the team realised she had long moved on and were doubtful they would see her again that day.

After her release in December 2015, Bungan has been one of the more adventurous of the released orangutans to explore the Kehje Sewen Forest. Our beautiful girl has become a true wild orangutan and is thriving in her natural habitat. We hope Bungan’s friends who are still undergoing rehabilitation at Samboja Lestari will follow in her lead and someday return to their true home in the forest.

Text by: PRM Team in Camp Nles Mamse, Kehje Sewen Forest

In celebration of the BOS Foundation’s 25th anniversary this year, we hope that the orangutans will continue to live safely in their new natural habitat. We will do our best to continuously monitor their progress and look forward to some new exciting reports on their adaptation this year! You can keep support our team and our monitoring activities. DONATE NOW to the BOS Foundation and make a difference to the future survival of orangutans!

Lesan’s Baby is a Girl!

August 9, 2016. Posted in Article

It had been a couple of weeks since our PRM team from Camp Lesik had seen Lesan and her baby, when they finally caught up with them a few days ago. The team managed to observe Lesan’s activities over a whole day – from the moment she woke in the morning, until she built her night nest in the evening.

We departed from Camp Lesik at 6 a.m. in search of Lesan’s nest. After searching for a while, we detected movements in a tree, which turned out to be Hamzah and Casey rising for the day. We remained focused on Lesan’s nest, however, until just after 7 a.m. when she finally appeared.

After waking, Lesan and her baby moved to a fig tree, with Casey following. Lesan ate some bark and then moved to another tree to eat cinnamon stems. Lesan took her time feeding with Casey trailing her wherever she went.

During the middle of the day, Lesan spent more time on the ground. She was observed kissing her baby and rubbing its hair as the infant suckled. This was the moment we were able to determine the sex of the baby – it’s a girl!

We discovered that Lesan’s baby is a girl!

Still hungry, Lesan moved to feed on nearby bamboo. She then retired to her morning nest to take a rest, but soon ventured out to feed again. After nearly an hour of eating, Lesan collected some twigs and fresh leaves to improve the construction of her morning nest and then rested there with her daughter. Meanwhile, Casey, who had been following them all morning, moved on to the trial called Transect Martin.

This is not the first time we have seen Lesan sharing her food sources with others – we once observed her sharing papaya with Juminten  (read the full story here: Peace and Papayas Among Friends) and it seems to this day she is still happy to share with Casey.

Clearly, Lesan is a good mother, as she and her baby daughter both appear to be in good health and thriving in the Kehje Sewen Forest.

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

In celebration of the BOS Foundation’s 25th anniversary this year, we hope that the orangutans will continue to live safely in their new natural habitat. We will do our best to continuously monitor their progress and look forward to some new exciting reports on their adaptation this year! You can keep support our team and our monitoring activities. DONATE NOW to BOS Foundation and make a difference to the future survival of orangutans!

Orangutan Food Aplenty in the Kehje Sewen Forest

August 2, 2016. Posted in Article

The biggest challenge in releasing orangutans back to the wild is finding suitable forest habitats for them to live in. In order to determine the viability of a forest as a potential release area, we first need to conduct a thorough phenology survey to ensure the area has a sufficient amount of natural food available all year round.

A phenology survey involves recording data on all fruiting trees in the forest, as well as other food sources for orangutans, such as edible tree bark, shoots, foliage and insects. The survey also records the fruiting season of each fruit-tree species to ensure food availability over the changing seasons.

Some of the natural orangutan foods found in the Kehje Sewen include:

Ardisia sp. fruit, locally known as lampeni or rempeni, which resembles cherries – red, round and small.

Ardisia sp.

Artocarpus sp., a variety of jackfruit related to cempedak and breadfruit.

Artocarpus sp.

Durian, which is known as the ‘king of fruits’. The durian variety found in the Kehje Sewen Forest has a reddish skin and is a great source of carbohydrate, fat, protein and minerals for orangutans.

Durian

Various types of forest flowers, including Ficus aurata, Lithocarpus gracilis, and Macaranga gigantea.

Certain plant shoots, such as rattan and forest-ginger shoots.

Raymond eating a ginger root (Etlingera sp.)

Termites, which are especially high in protein, found in weathered pieces of wood.

Angely eating termites

The Kehje Sewen Forest is an 86,450-hectare primary forest area rich in food sources for orangutans. From our phenology survey – which also involved tagging every fruiting tree in certain transects and recording data on their numbers and density – we discovered that almost 200 plant species grow there.

The Kehje Sewen Forest is rich in nutritious orangutan food and can sustain orangutan populations and other fauna. The difficulty involved in finding suitable release habitats for rehabilitated orangutans has forced the BOS Foundation to ‘rent’ forest areas under the Ecosystem Restoration Concession scheme since 2010. With 700 orangutans still under our care, we hope that support from the central and provincial governments of Indonesia will help the BOS Foundation secure more forest release areas.

Text by: PRM team in Kehje Sewen Forest

In celebration of the BOS Foundation’s 25th anniversary this year, we hope that the orangutans will continue to live safely in their new natural habitat. We will do our best to continuously monitor their progress and look forward to some new exciting reports on their adaptation this year! You can keep support our team and our monitoring activities. DONATE NOW to BOS Foundation and make a difference to the future survival of orangutans!

Raymond Encounters Bungan in the Kehje Sewen Forest

July 28, 2016. Posted in Article

Our PRM team from Camp Nles Mamse recently monitored Raymond’s activities over several consecutive days to see how he was adapting to life in the Kehje Sewen Forest following his release on May 28.

Raymond was observed eating a variety of forest fruit species, including jackfruit (Artocarpus sp.), Ficus sp., and a ginger root (Etlingera sp.) He was actively foraging and moving through the trees and lianas, clearly enjoying his new life.

Raymond eating Artocarpus sp.

Raymond enjoying Etlingera sp. shoots

After climbing down to grab some a ginger root, he busied himself building a couch-like mattress made from piles of twigs and leaves. He rested comfortably on his ‘couch’ for a while before returning to the trees to explore.

The next day, the team caught up with Raymond and followed him again, this time interrupted by unfavourable weather and rainfall. Raymond cleverly grabbed several leafy branches to cover his head, just like an umbrella.

After the rain stopped, Raymond returned to foraging and kiss-squeaked every now and then to show his displeasure with human presence.

Suddenly, the team noticed movements in the forest and quickly checked telemetry signals to find out if it was another orangutan approaching. The movements turned out to be from Bungan, a female the BOS Foundation released in December 2015.

Raymond did not appreciate the company and quickly departed. However, Bungan seemed determined to get to know Raymond and chased him for a few hours. The team followed them until Raymond finally made peace with Bungan’s presence, and they both stopped to sit in the same tree. They then hugged and sat together to eat forest fruits.

Raymond (left) and Bungan (right)

They were still together the following day, and stayed close to one another. When Raymond started to build his nest for the night, Bungan chose to build hers in a nearby tree.

We are delighted to see this friendship develop between Raymond and Bungan, and hope it will result in another natural birth in the Kehje Sewen Forest.

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

In celebration of the BOS Foundation’s 25th anniversary this year, we hope that the orangutans will continue to live safely in their new natural habitat. We will do our best to continuously monitor their progress and look forward to some new exciting reports on their adaptation this year! You can keep support our team and our monitoring activities. DONATE NOW to BOS Foundation and make a difference to the future survival of orangutans!

Peace and Papayas Among Friends

July 19, 2016. Posted in Article

On a beautiful morning in the Kehje Sewen Forest, our team recently set out to monitor Lesan and her baby. The pair was found not far from Camp Lesik, enjoying some papaya on the ground. Both mother and infant appeared to be happy and healthy.

Suddenly, movements could be heard coming from up in the trees. The team tried to identify the approaching individual by telemetry signal, but were unable to pick up a signal – this could indicate an orangutan released quite some time ago with an exhausted transmitter. Through observing the approaching orangutan’s physical characteristics, the team soon discovered it was none other than Juminten (with her round face and distinguishable hairline)!

Released in 2013, Juminten was last seen by our team on July 8 last year, when she was observed hanging out with Mona, another adult female released the same year (Read the full story here: A reunion with Mona and Juminten).

Juminten looked very interested in the papaya that Lesan and her baby were eating, and she moved cautiously closer. Lesan remained calm and seemed unfazed by larger Juminten’s presence – so much so, she gave her the chance to join them.

Juminten eating papaya

Lesan played with her baby nearby while Juminten ate the fruit.

Lesan playing with her baby after getting her papaya fill

After finishing her papaya, Juminten approached Lesan and her baby again and spent some time with them before continuing her journey through the forest alone.

Juminten spending time with Lesan and her baby

Lesan then took her baby and climbed up in the trees to build a nest and rest together.

This friendly and peaceful interaction between released orangutans indicates to us they are living happily and comfortably in the Kehje Sewen Forest.

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

In celebration of the BOS Foundation’s 25th anniversary this year, we hope that the orangutans will continue to live safely in their new natural habitat. We will do our best to continuously monitor their progress and look forward to some new exciting reports on their adaptation this year! You can keep support our team and our monitoring activities. DONATE NOW to the BOS Foundation and make a difference to the future survival of orangutans!

Angely Enjoys Her New Life in the Kehje Sewen Forest

July 12, 2016. Posted in Article

Our PRM team from Camp Nles Mamse has been tracking Angely and is happy to report she is adapting well to her new home in the Kehje Sewen Forest. Angely has been observed feeding well on breadfruit (Artocarpus sp.) and ficus fruits, which seem to be among her chosen favourites.

From the moment she leaves her nest in the morning, Angely goes in search of forest foods. She spends hours in the trees eating which is very encouraging to see.

Angely feeding on breadfruit

Artocarpus sp., Angely’s favorite fruit

After feeding, Angely will travel deeper into the Kehje Sewen Forest. She is quick and agile, and more often than not, our team has to make a fast dash just to catch up with her and keep monitoring her activities. At midday, Angely usually builds herself a nest to rest in for a couple of hours.

Angely resting in her nest

Our PRM team have noted that Angely starts building her night nests from about 4.30 p.m. daily and cleverly stocks them with ficus fruits before retiring for the night. At sunrise, she eats her already prepared fig breakfast in bed before leaving her nest for another day in the forest.

Angely ready to explore more of Kehje Sewen

It is heart-warming to see Angely living in the Kehje Sewen Forest. We hope the other orangutans in our care at Samboja Lestari and Nyaru Menteng will have the same opportunity to live happily in the wild, just like Angely.

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

This year is the BOS Foundation’s 25th anniversary. We hope our released orangutans will continue to live safely in their new, natural habitats. We will do our best to monitor their progress and we look forward to some exciting new reports on their adaptations throughout the year! You can support our team and monitoring activities. DONATE NOW to the BOS Foundation and make a difference to the future survival of orangutans!