News From The Project

What’s up at Nyaru Menteng and Samboja Lestari

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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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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Two Rescues in Two Days

The BOS team rescued two infant Orangutans one male aged 6-8 months and one female aged 3 years in Central Kalimantan within two days. The team and took the infants to Nyaru Menteng, reporting that one (the male) is severely dehydrated and malnourished.

The foundation said in both cases it’s likely that the mothers were deliberately killed.

As more forests are cleared, ‘hunters are able to reach previously isolated areas and orangutans,’ it said in a statement.

‘We have to take a stand to protect remaining habitat and the critically endangered wildlife which lives within.

‘Our forests and our orangutan population are shrinking.’

Read more…

These rescues bring the total number of orphans displaced and rescued this year to nineteen.

First Rescue - October 12th

First Rescue – October 12th

Second Rescue - October 13th

Second Rescue – October 13th

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BOS Foundation readies 10 Orangutans for Release

Today, BOS Foundation officially commenced activities on a new, 82.84 hectare orangutan pre-release island in Wahau Sub-District, East Kutai Regency, East Kalimantan. The utilisation of the island has been made possible through cooperation between BOS Foundation and PT. Nusaraya Agro Sawit (PT. NAS). During this event, BOS Foundation also moves 10 orangutans from their Orangutan Rehabilitation Center in Samboja Lestari (Samboja Lestari) to the island, with the purpose of preparing them for their release into the forest. 

Wahau, East Kalimantan, September 6, 2017. Once again, BOS Foundation demonstrates its commitment to collaborate with stakeholders, including corporations, in implementing actions to support orangutan and habitat conservation. This time the foundation, established in 1991, is working together with PT. NAS to acquire a 82.84 hectare conservation area in Muara Wahau, East Kutai Regency.

The conservation area will be utilised as a pre-release island for orangutans previously rehabilitated in Samboja Lestari. Orangutans have to undergo a lengthy rehabilitation process which can take up to 7-8 years before they are ready to be returned to natural habitat. The rehabilitation process starts in Nursery and progresses through different levels; similar to a school system human children complete, created to build basic skills for survival in the wild. The final stage of the process requires time spent on a natural island which provides opportunities for orangutans to live in a semi-wild forest environment, protected but able to be observed to monitor adaptation.

During this event, BOS Foundation also moves 10 orangutans from Samboja Lestari to the pre-release island to prepare them as future release candidates into the Kehje Sewen Forest in 2018.

BOS Foundation CEO, Dr. Ir. Jamartin Sihite explains, “We are still rehabilitating more than a hundred orangutans in Samboja Lestari ready for release. BOS Foundation needs to accelerate the rehabilitation cycle which includes pre-release and release, by setting up special conservation areas with suitable carrying capacity for orangutans. With this island we call “Juq Kehje Swen”, which means “orangutan island” in Dayak language, plus some new pre-release islands already in use in Samboja Lestari, we are confident that we can speed up the process of releasing orangutans currently cared for in our rehabilitation center.”

“However, that is only one aspect of our efforts in orangutan and habitat conservation. If forests keep being destroyed, opened and converted, wildlife such as orangutans will continue to be hunted, displaced and fragmented. And this process will continue whilst our forests continue to shrink, until all is lost and it can no longer support biodiversity, and provide environmental services, that includes environmental services for humans. Therefore, we must work together now to protect forests from damage and wildlife from extinction. Let them live in their natural state.”

Ir. Sunandar Trigunajasa N., Head of East Kalimantan BKSDA, emphasizes, “The East Kalimantan BKSDA highly appreciates the cooperation developed with BOS Foundation and other parties, such as PT. NAS. As we have often pointed out, conservation efforts for orangutans and their habitat require major cooperation involving all parties: governments, communities, civic organizations, and the private sector. This is something we need to do because of the role that orangutans play in maintaining forest quality, making them a crucial factor we must preserve. Given the increasing number of forest areas being converted, we are obliged to strongly conserve the remaining forests, whilst also rehabilitate the damaged ones. We can all play a part in safeguarding the forest and wildlife. Let us do our duty and part the best we can.”

In the utilization of this new pre-release island, BOS Foundation cooperates with PT. Nusaraya Agro Sawit (PT. NAS). to manage a forested area of 82.84 hectares in Wahau Sub-district. A survey previously carried out shows that this area contains good quality forest, isolated by river water throughout the year, no population of wild orangutans, large space to support adaptation, socialization, sufficient natural orangutan foods, and it can accommodate an estimated 40 orangutans.

Ir. Martusin Yapriadi, Director of PT. Nusantara Agro Sawit, says, “Our cooperation with a large conservation organization like BOS Foundation is a great opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to sustainable environmental conservation in East Kalimantan Province. We uphold the principles of sustainable environmental governance and therefore, are committed to supporting the efforts of BOS Foundation to provide habitat as the final stage for rehabilitated orangutans prior to their release into the forest. This collaboration shows that our sustainable business can work in harmony with conservation efforts. We are very excited about this partnership, and we hope that this can inspire others to work together and support sustainable conservation efforts in East Kalimantan.”

Utilization of orangutan pre-release islands in Wahau, East Kutai district is a realization of BOS Foundation’s collaboration with all stakeholders, and BOS Foundation is grateful for the support provided by the East Kalimantan BKSDA and PT. NAS who have collaborated on the implementation of this pre-release island.

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