[PRESS RELEASE] Another 21 Orangutans Return to the Forest

Contributing towards efforts to meet the targets of theIndonesian Orangutan Action Plan and Conservation Strategy 2007- 2017, the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) Orangutan Reintroduction Program at Nyaru Menteng will release another 21 Orangutans building on previous success in releasing 23 orangutans.

Nyaru Menteng, Central Kalimantan, October 31, 2012. 8 semi-wild and 13 rehabilitated orangutans will depart from the BOSF Orangutan Reintroduction Program at Nyaru Menteng to Puruk Cahu, Murung Raya Regency.

This release is exceptional in terms of the number of orangutans to be released, which is higher than previous release events, hence the two-day execution. This is also the BOS Foundation’s first release of wild born ex-captive rehabilitated orangutans in Central Kalimantan, all of which have completed our pre-release program on our pre-release island, Kaja Island.

Due to the higher number of orangutans scheduled to be released during this event, some of the orangutans will spend two nights within a transit enclosure located in the compound of PT. Indo Muro Kencana before being transported by helicopter to Bukit Batikap Conservation Forest.

This release is part of the efforts to meet the targets of the Indonesian Orangutan Conservation Action Plan 2007-2017, launched by the president of the Republic of Indonesia during the Climate Change Conference in Bali, 2007.

Murung Raya Regent, Dr. Willy M. Yoseph stated, “This release is a joint-cooperation between the people of Murung Raya regency and the Regency Government of Murung Raya in supporting orangutan conservation programs. This is also a manifestation of a signed cooperation plan between BOSF and the Regency Government of Murung Raya, to meet the target of releasing the entire population of orangutans currently undergoing rehabilitation by 2015.”

According to the chief of Central Kalimantan Conservation and Natural Resources Authority (BKSDA), Ir. Kholid Indarto, “There remains a high number of orangutans within the Central Kalimantan Reintroduction Program. We expect an active role from private sectors, especially oil palm and mining companies.  Oil palm and mining companies must perform an active role in taking responsibility and taking care of orangutans who have been displaced from their natural habitat by the companies’ activities. Those companies should also have an orangutan protection plan in their working area. BKSDA and BOSF will work together in assisting private parties to protect orangutans in their concession areas through best management practice.”

Dr. Jamartin Sihite, CEO of BOSF added, “The number of orangutans being released is higher than before. This courageous step is taken since we have had successful experiences in releasing a total of 23 orangutans into Central Kalimantan during three previous release events. We are also striving to fulfill the target of releasing 150 orangutans by the end of 2013.”

The BOSF is very grateful for the support given by concerned parties, including the Ministry of Forestry, the Provincial Government of Central Kalimantan, the Regency Government of Murung Raya, the Central Kalimantan Conservation and Natural Resources Authority, and the whole community of Murung Raya. This release is only possible with the moral and financial and logistical support from private sectors such as BHP Billiton and Indo Muro Kencana, together with our individual donors, institutional partners and conservation organizations across the globe who are concerned with orangutan conservation in Indonesia.

Anton Nurcahyo, the manager of Orangutan Reintroduction Program in Nyaru Menteng said, “The implementation of orangutan release with its complex conditions and logistical requirements is the result of support and joint cooperation amongst many parties. Conservation of orangutans can only happen with full participation of all related stakeholders, especially the communities. Local community is the key to nature sustainability, and in this particular case, long-term orangutan preservation.”

Bungaran Saragih, Chairman of BOSF Board of Trustees also added, “ I have a mixed feeling of joy and sadness. I feel sad for us to be separated from orangutans we have cared for, but I am also excited that 13 orangutans from the 21 to be released, have all successfully progressed through our reintroduction program in Nyaru Menteng. After the release, we will monitor their progress for at least a year, to ensure their survival in the new environment.”

We still have a long way to go to meet the orangutan reintroduction targets stated in the Indonesian Orangutan Action Plan and Conservation Strategy 2007- 2017. We still have 600 orangutans awaiting release at our Orangutan Reintroduction Center in Nyaru Menteng. What we need in order to reach our mutual goals is the cooperation and active participation from all related parties.

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