Coming Home! Two Orangutans repatriated from Thailand & 10 more on the path to freedom

The BOS Foundation, in cooperation with the Central Kalimantan BKSDA and the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park (BBBR-NP) office, are preparing to release two orangutans repatriated from Thailand to the BBBR-NP in Katingan Regency, Central Kalimantan.

Nanga and Sukamara, who were returned to Indonesia from Thailand in 2006, undertook the long road to rehabilitation at the Central Kalimantan Orangutan Reintroduction Center in Nyaru Menteng (Nyaru Menteng) to prepare for life in the wild. The two will join ten other orangutans in the 7th BOS Foundation release conducted in the BBBR-NP. This will be the 19th release undertaken by the BOS Foundation in cooperation with the Central Kalimantan BKSDA since 2012. 

Nyaru Menteng, Central Kalimantan, November 9, 2017: Upholding our commitment to the #OrangutanFreedom campaign, in which we aim to release 100 orangutans to natural habitats and a further 100 to pre-release islands by the end of 2017, the BOS Foundation in cooperation with the Central Kalimantan BKSDA and the BBBR-NP office will today release more rehabilitated orangutans to natural habitats. This release will also mark ‘Hari Cinta Puspa dan Satwa Nasional’ (National ‘Love Flora and Fauna’ Day), which falls annually on November 5.

The 12 orangutans to be released today include four (4) males and eight (8) females. Two of the females are Nanga and Sukamara, who were repatriated from Thailand in a year when the BOS Foundation received a total of 48 orangutans from Thailand (2006). From this group, Nanga and Sukamara are the 2nd and 3rd orangutans to be released to the wild.

The orangutans will be transported in two separate batches over land and river, on a 10-12-hour journey from Nyaru Menteng to predetermined release points in the BBBR-NP. The first batch will depart from Nyaru Menteng today, while the second batch will leave on November 11. This 19th orangutan release will bring the total population of rehabilitated orangutans released to the BBBR-NP to 71 individuals.

Dr. Ir. Jamartin Sihite, BOS Foundation CEO said; “Orangutan rehabilitation involves a long process, one which cannot be rushed or achieved over a short period. You can see in this particular release, we have two orangutans who were repatriated in 2006. It took 11 long years of rehabilitation before these two individuals were ready to live an independent life in the forest. We cannot simply release orangutans in the wild and expect them to thrive. They need years of training, and the opportunity to practice and hone their survival skills. This not only takes time, but also requires a lot of money. Therefore, rehabilitation, as part of the conservation effort, depends greatly on the participation of many stakeholders. We cannot do this alone.

The orangutan is the only great ape native to Asia, and is also our closest living relative. Protected by the law, orangutans play a very important role in the forest, positively impacting on forest regeneration. This should drive us to work harder to protect and preserve these uniquely beautiful creatures.

We are proud to return hundreds of orangutans back to natural habitats, but we can only do so with continued support. Together, let’s protect the remaining forest areas to secure natural habitats for orangutans, because a well-protected forest can give us all a better quality of life.”

Ir. Adib Gunawan, Head of Central Kalimantan’s Conservation of Natural Resources Agency (BKSDA), said; “This orangutan release is very timely, as it coincides with Hari Cinta Puspa dan Satwa Nasional, which falls annually on November 5. The government declared this national day 24 years ago, over concerns for the preservation of flora and fauna in Indonesia. The government has launched programs to save, protect, and take care of many species of flora and fauna in Indonesia, including Sumatran and Bornean orangutans. We at the Central Kalimantan BKSDA, as an extension of the Republic of Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry at the provincial level, follow up all reports regarding orangutan welfare through conducting rescues, patrols, and various other activities to help protect conservation areas and forest biodiversity. On November 13-14, we will hold a Central Kalimantan regional meeting, and invite all stakeholders from the government, NGOs, and private sectors. Together, we hope to come up with ideas, initiatives, and breakthroughs for the orangutan conservation effort in Central Kalimantan.”

Ir. Heru Raharjo, M.P., Head of the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park (BBBRNP) Office, said; “From 2016, the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park has accommodated 59 rehabilitated orangutans from the BOS Foundation in Nyaru Menteng, and today that number will increase to 71. The more orangutans living free in their natural habitat, the better! To ensure these orangutans continue to thrive in the forest, and are safe from human threats, we conduct regular patrols with the BOS Foundation team. We guarantee there are no poachers, nor irresponsible persons exploiting the natural resources in the area and endangering the lives of orangutans and other animals.

So far, we have received reports that the orangutans are living wild and free, without the threat of poachers. We all hope that the released orangutans will form a new, wild population in this national park and thrive.”

In addition to the BOS Foundation, the Central Kalimantan BKSDA, and the BBBR-NP office, this release has also received strong support from USAID LESTARI, which has pledged active support for the orangutan release program in the BBBR-NP until 2018.

Rosenda Chandra Kasih, USAID LESTARI’s Central Kalimantan Landscape Coordinator confirms that USAID LESTARI is fully supportive of the orangutan release effort conducted by the BOS Foundation, and encourages better management of the BBBR-NP; “With this new batch of 12 orangutans, the BBBR-NP in Katingan will accommodate a total 71 orangutans. This will help raise the area in terms of biodiversity value, as well as support forest conservation in line with our vision and mission. USAID Lestari greatly appreciates the cooperation of all stakeholders in the area, and we fully endorse all efforts to help create a new, wild orangutan population in this national park. We do not want to see this critically endangered species become extinct; it is our collective responsibility to prevent that from happening”.

To ensure the success of its conservation efforts, the BOS Foundation consistently involves and works in cooperation with the government at all levels, including the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the Central Kalimantan Provincial Office, the Katingan Regency Office, the Central Kalimantan BKSDA, and the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park office.

The BOS Foundation would like to acknowledge the significant support received from a number of partners, including the Katingan Regency community; individual donors; partner organizations like PT. Cometa International, Zoos Victoria and the Commonwealth of Australia through the Department of Environment and Energy; and conservation organisations from around the world. The BOS Foundation is very grateful for the support and contributions offered by these parties to aid the orangutan conservation effort in Indonesia.

Source: BOS Foundation

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