News From The Canopy

The adventures of the released Orangutans now living free in the forest

King of Kehje Sewen Makes an Appearance

King Kumar

King Kumar

Our PRM team to the south of Camp Nles Mamse was recently delighted to pick up Kumar’s radio tracking signal! The team was busily conducting post-release monitoring in the Simpang Tawon area of the Kehje Sewen Forest, when Kumar’s signal suddenly popped up. So the next day, they set off toward the last point where his signal was detected: They could not pass up this golden opportunity to gather observation data on the ‘King of the Forest’, who had gone undetected for quite some time.

Kumar is a cheek-padded male who was released in July 2017. His cheekpad is the widest and he was the oldest male upon release, at 23 years old. This is why we consider him as the King of the Forest. His radio tracking signal was last picked up two months after his release (read the story here), and his explorations deep into the forest made him difficult to locate.

The PRM team eagerly followed Kumar’s signal, which led them to the Tanjakan Kandang area. From there, the reading became stronger and the team were sensitive to every small movement in the trees, as they anticipated the King’s appearance. As Kumar is known for disliking human presence, the team remained vigilant, aware that he could show up at any second. Then came the sound of branches breaking, and a team member saw a large branch come down nearby. Kumar appeared, standing confidently on a branch like a king staring down at his subjects. The team quickly took some photos of Kumar and started jotting down observation notes from a safe distance.

Kumar was observed for a week; he is in good physical condition and has a healthy appetite. He stays high up in the canopy, and builds his night nests and day nests in different trees. He has sound nest-building skills, and always builds a new night nest in a different tree from the previous night. Kumar is an excellent forager and was observed eating a variety of forest foods, but he especially likes ficus fruits and liana bark, both of which are plentiful in the forest. Like a king boldly marking his territory, Kumar kiss-squeaked at his uninvited visitors and also made long-calls and replies to other orangutans long-calls during observations.

Seeing Kumar growing and adapting well to his environment is both a joy and a relief. We hope all our released orangutans are also in good health and adapting well to forest life, like King Kumar!

Great work, Forest King!

Words by: PRM Team, Camp Nles Mamse, Kehje Sewen Forest

King Kumar

King Kumar

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Seven Orangutans Head To University!

We are moving full steam ahead with our reintroduction programs and at our new release site in Central Kalimantan in the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park, we have already released 71 orangutans since 2016. But it takes time for orphaned orangutans to learn all the skills they need to successfully live in the wild and that is where we step in.

Each orangutan under our care completes a gradual rehabilitation process; starting from the Nursery Group, then working through several levels of Forest School, where they learn and develop the vital skills and behaviours they will need to survive; what to eat and not to eat, how to make a nest and travel through the trees and how to avoid predators. Once they have completed Forest School, graduates are transferred to pre-release islands, where they enter the ‘university’ stage of their rehabilitation. On these naturally vegetated islands, orangutans are observed by Technicians to ensure they are learning to live more independently in a wild situation. Their ability to thrive on these islands ultimately determines their readiness to be released to the wild.

November 23, 2017, was a significant day for Petto, Toby, Tarwan, Uje and Mia. All five had gone through a long rehabilitation process in both Forest School and the socialization complex, and had finally made it to Bangamat pre-release Island. As soon as their transport cages were opened, all five rushed out to climb trees and explore the island; their new home, for the time being.

In addition to these five orangutans, Bangamat Island also welcomed the arrival of mother-infant pair Clara and Clarita. Baby Clarita was unexpectedly born and first spotted by our team in early July 2017, on Salat Island. A few days later, Clara was reportedly seen alone, without baby Clarita. After a thorough search of the area, we discovered that Clarita was being ‘cared for’ by Rizki, a 14-year-old male orangutan, and his friends.

Unfortunately Rizki didn’t want to part with Clarita and although he was extremely gentle with the newborn, he obviously was not her mother and of course he couldn’t feed her. After several attempts to rescue baby Clarita, our Technicians managed to safely retrieve her on July 18. She was suffering from a bad rash thought to be caused by rangas sap and she was also suffering from malnutrition, due to having been separated from her breastfeeding mother. Clarita was immediately taken to our clinic for intensive care. At the time, Clara seemed to be in hiding on Salat and in early August, Clara reappeared. We suspected she had been avoiding the other orangutans on the island – in particular, Rizki who had taken her daughter. We quickly took Clara to Nyaru Menteng to be reunited with Clarita.

Meanwhile, baby Clarita was getting better, albeit with a rash still visible here and there. Initially, we were concerned that Clara might feel disconnected from her infant given that they had been apart for more than two weeks. However, we were very relieved to be wrong, and once baby Clarita was put in Clara’s arms by her Babysitter, the gentle mother embraced her baby tightly to her chest, as though she would never let her go.

To avoid another opportunity for Rizki to take on the role of surrogate mother – or in this case, surrogate father – our team decided to move the mother-infant pair to Bangamat Island instead of Salat. To this day, Clarita continues to suckle and be doted on by loving mother Clara.

The transfer of these seven brings the number of orangutans on Bangamat Island to 34 individuals. Nyaru Menteng’s team of dedicated Technicians will continue to monitor their progress on the island. We hope all seven continue to grow into fully independent orangutans, and when they graduate from this ‘university’, will be ready for life the wild.

Text by: Communications Team BOS Foundation

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Expectant Mothers Meklies & Ebol Get Ready to Give Birth!

We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of new orangutan family members in the Bukit Batikap Conservation Forest (Batikap). In August, our team discovered that two of our released orangutans – Meklies (released in 2015), and Ebol (2012) – were pregnant. Since then, BOS have done their best to monitor these two ex

pectant mothers and track their progress, though, it has not been an easy task.

Last week, our team managed to locate Meklies and Ebol whilst conducting routine monitoring activities in Batikap. Both females seemed to be in excellent condition. Meklies, who spent most of her time high up in the trees, looked very fit, and was seen eating a large amount of forest fruit. While it was difficult to get a clear visual, vet Maryos Tandang said Meklies appeared in good shape and was getting adequate nutrition (based on food traces found on the forest floor below her). The team pondered whether she was preparing a comfortable nest in which to soon give birth.

Meanwhile, Ebol had moved from the Joloi Atas area to Joloi Bawah, after last being

seen together with Lamar. Our team continued to follow and record her activities until she made her night nest. After comparing photos and analysing current observation notes, we predicted that she must be almost ready to give birth.

Our team is delighted to share this wonderful news! We hope that mother nature will work in their favour, and ensure that these two females succeed in giving birth to strong, healthy babies in the Bukit Batikap Conservation Forest. Hoping for two safe births in the very near future!

Story by: Alizee Martin, Batikap PRM Coordinator

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Close Encounters of the Ape Kind

Elisa Do A Lot!

Elisa Do A Lot!

On a sunny Friday, our PRM team from Camp Lesik trailed down Bukit Titin transect to conduct observations on Elisa, a female orangutan released in March this year. Our team that day included Usup, Rere, and Valerie; we headed directly to the location where Elisa’s signal was detected several days prior. After reaching the top of Bukit Titin, we kept on following the strong signal from Elisa, working our way through dense rattan and lianas until we finally spotted her.

Elisa quickly detected our presence and showed her displeasure by letting out a kiss-squeak, then swiftly moved around the branches to get a better look at us. Acknowledging her discomfort, we slowly moved away and continued to observe her from a safe distance.

For a while, Elisa sat in a tree and watched us, but soon became bored and moved off to eat flowers and young leaves. Engrossed in her foraging, she paid no attention to us and just went about her day. This gave us the opportunity to observe Elisa’s activities for quite some time, before she decided to climb up higher and out of sight.

Not wanting to give up easily on observing Elisa, we stood by and waited for signs of movement in the direction she took off in. Then, out of the blue, an orangutan suddenly appeared behind us. Could Elisa have circled around to cleverly sneak up on us from behind? Or was this another orangutan coming to surprise us? Stay tuned, and follow our story next week to find out!

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

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BOS Foundation and Central Kalimantan BKSDA Release 12 More Orangutans to BBBRNP

Nyaru Menteng, Central Kalimantan, August 2, 2017: To reach our #OrangutanFreedom goals, aimed at reintroducing 100 orangutans to natural habitat this year, BOS Foundation and the Central Kalimantan BKSDA are again collaborating to release orangutans back to the wild. Four male and eight female orangutans will be accompanied by a release team on a 10-12 hour road and river trip from Nyaru Menteng to the BBBRNP, where they will be released at predetermined locations. This will bring the total number of rehabilitated orangutans released in the BBBRNP to 59.

BOS Foundation CEO Dr. Ir. Jamartin Sihite, said; “2017 focuses on #OrangutanFreedom, and we aim to release 100 orangutans to the forest this year. With this release, we will reach our halfway release point of fifty orangutans. We are optimistic that with the active support of our stakeholders, including the central and local government, the private sector and organizations dedicated to protecting Indonesia’s natural sources, the target is within our reach. This should not only be the BOS Foundation’s goal, but our collective goal and responsibility to preserve our forests and our wildlife. Hundreds of the orangutans under our care have already completed Forest School, and others are living on our pre-release islands, waiting for their turn to be released to the wild. Orangutans are a vital part of forest ecology. Mankind needs forests to provide clean air and water, and regulate climate, among other functions. Why are we not taking better care of the animals who manage the forests for our very own survival? The way we clear land through burning, hunting wild animals, and depleting our natural resources at such a breakneck speed – all has to stop. I would like to stress if we don’t prioritize conservation, if we don’t conserve nature, humans will not survive. It is as simple as that. We urge everyone to support our cause. Land encroachment, like we are experiencing in Samboja Lestari, East Kalimantan, clearly shows we are not receiving the full support we need to achieve sustainable conservation. Conservation efforts and their success affect all of us, and future generations to come. We founded this organization to ensure a better future for all.”

Ir. Adib Gunawan, Head of Central Kalimantan’s Conservation of Natural Resources Agency (BKSDA), said; “Central Kalimantan BKSDA, as an extension of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, and together with community stakeholders, is responsible for safeguarding our province’s natural resources. We tirelessly embrace all parties to participate in protecting orangutans, as the pride and iconic umbrella species in Central Kalimantan. One way is to initiate formation of forums, socialization and campaigns, as well as rehabilitation and the reintroduction of orangutans in safe and protected areas and protection of wild orangutan populations. The efforts of BOS Foundation to save, rehabilitate, reintroduce orangutans in Kalimantan to protected forests and conserve wild populations are initiatives that we fully support. We must make sure our children and grandchildren will be able to live in a safe protected natural world.”

Ir. Heru Raharjo, M.P., Head of the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park (BBBRNP) in Central Kalimantan and West Kalimantan Regions, said; “Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park, in cooperation with BOS Foundation and the Central Kalimantan BKSDA, has already released 47 orangutans in this area. Today, 12 more orangutans will also gain their freedom. We must keep them protected in the National Park. We continue to conduct regular monitoring missions together with the BOS Foundation team to ensure all released orangutans remain safe in our forests. Our observations thus far have ensured the safety of the orangutans, and have recorded their successful adaptation to life in the wild. I sincerely hope the orangutans released here will establish a new population of wild orangutans, to help sustain our conservation efforts.”

This release was also supported by USAID LESTARI, which has pledged to help continue orangutan release events to the BBBRNP until 2018, and the Bank Central Asia with their CSR activities, has been extremely supportive in orangutan and habitat conservation efforts undertaken by BOS Foundation.

Rosenda Chandra Kasih, USAID LESTARI’s Central Kalimantan Landscape Coordinator, said; “USAID LESTARI warmly welcomes the release conducted in cooperation with BOS Foundation with the target of returning 100 orangutans to new habitat in Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park. Considering that the Bornean orangutan conservation status has reached the alarming ‘critically endangered’ point, it should propel us to act quickly and work in cooperation to conserve and protect orangutans and their habitat. The purpose of this cooperation is to create a new wild orangutan population. We are deeply concerned about the rampant news on how the number of orangutans in this province is rapidly decreasing. It is our collective duty to reverse this threat.”

Inge Setiawati, BCA’s Executive Vice President Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) said, “Our common misconception is that rehabilitation centers offer the best safety for orangutans. Whilst of course it is clear that the best place for wildlife is their natural habitat, the forest. Therefore, BCA strongly supports the BOS Foundation’s activities to reintroduce and conserve orangutans who have completed rehabilitation through the Forest School and pre-release system. The Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park as the current orangutan reintroduction forest is a conservation area, and this area should be safe from future exploitation.”

BOS Foundation acknowledges that successful orangutan and habitat conservation efforts are only achievable through the participation and active support from all parties: the government, and both the public and private sectors. BOS Foundation 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, to help safeguard Bornean orangutans and their habitat.

BOS Foundation is also supported by a number of other partners, including the Katingan Regency community; individual donors; partner organizations such as Zoos Victoria and the Commonwealth of Australia through the Department of Environment and Energy and conservation organisations around the world. BOS Foundation is very grateful for the support and contributions offered by these parties to aid the conservation effort in Indonesia.

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