THE FIRST CROSS-PROVINCE ORANGUTAN REINTRODUCTION
from the BOS Foundation Orangutan Reintroduction Center, Nyaru Menteng in Central Kalimantan
to the RHOI Kehje Sewen Forest in East Kalimantan
As a part of the 7th orangutan reintroduction event from the Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation program in Nyaru Menteng, Central Kalimantan a mother-infant orangutan unit and one further individual are released in the BOS Foundation/ RHOI Kehje Sewen Forest, East Kalimantan. Along with this release event, five orangutans from the BOS Foundation orangutan program at Samboja Lestari in East Kalimantan are being translocated to Nyaru Menteng. These five orangutans who are of sub-species Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii will undertake the last stage of rehabilitation process on one the pre-release islands which are managed by the BOS Foundation in Nyaru Menteng before finally being released into their natural habitat in Central Kalimantan.
Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, 1 December 2013. A mother and her infant, and one other individual are released into the BOS Foundation / RHOI Ecosystem Restoration Concession, Kehje Sewen forest in Kutai Timur and Kutai Kartanegara Regencies, East Kalimantan. This orangutan reintroduction is an exceptional release event given it encompasses the first cross-province orangutan reintroductions from the BOS Foundation Central Kalimantan Orangutan Reintroduction Program at Nyaru Menteng to the BOSF / RHOI Ecosystem Restoration Concession, Kehje Sewen forest in Kutai Timur and Kutai Kertanegara Regency, East Kalimantan. Despite having been rehabilitated over many years at our Orangutan Rehabilitation Center, Nyaru Menteng in Central Kalimantan, Yayang and Sayang and Diah are released in East Kalimantan.
Mother-infant pair, Yayang and Sayang will be released in East Kalimantan following obligatory DNA testing procedures prior to any orangutan reintroduction. The test results revealed that Yayang belongs to the sub-species Pongo pygmaeus morio which naturally inhabits the eastern part of Kalimantan. In compliance with welfare practices, Yayang’s dependant infant, Sayang, will be released with her mother to ensure her welfare.
Diah, a 17 year old orangutan is released in East Kalimantan because her sub-species is also Pongo pygmaeus morio which naturally inhabits the eastern part of Kalimantan. Confiscated from Sebulu, East Kalimantan, Diah underwent the first part of her rehabilitation process in the BOS Foundation Reintroduction Centre, Samboja Lestari – East Kalimantan. However, Samboja Lestari experienced over capacity issues following a massive influx of rescued orangutans due to large deliberate forest fire set in 1998. Diah, who had only been in Samboja Lestari for one year had to be translocated to the newly established Nyaru Menteng in Central Kalimantan.
Thus following the standard national and international guidelines from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Yayang, Sayang, and Diah will be released into the Kehje Sewen Forest, East Kalimantan, instead of the Bukit Batikap Conservation Forest, Central Kalimantan like other rehabilitated orangutans from Nyaru Menteng. The Kehje Sewen Forest is an Ecosystem Restoration Concession (ERC) managed by PT Restorasi Habitat Orangutan Indonesia (RHOI), a company that was established by the BOS Foundation on April 21, 2009, solely to acquire the right to use and manage a forest which was desperately needed to release rehabilitated orangutans from the BOS Foundation Orangutan Reintroduction Center at Samboja Lestari.
This release event involves the collaboration of all the stakeholders, including the Central and East Kalimantan Provincial Governments, Kutai Timur and Kutai Kartanegara Regencies Government, Central and East Kalimantan Conservation and Natural Resources Authority, and the whole community of Kutai Timur and Kutai Kartanegara.
The BOS Foundation strives to meet the targets of the Indonesian Orangutan Action Plan and Conservation Strategy 2007-2017. The Action Plan was launched by the President of the Republic of Indonesia during the Climate Change Conference in Bali, 2007. It states that all eligible orangutans currently in rehabilitation centers should be released by 2015, and it has been endorsed by all levels of government, including the provincial and regency levels.
“The reason why Yayang, Sayang, and Diah have to be released in another province is because as orangutans originally from east of Kalimantan, they have different genetic traits compared to those from other parts of Kalimantan. We are committed to preserving the genetic purity of each released orangutan as this is very important. And with the many orangutans waiting to be released we have currently under our care and rehabilitation, there is a probability that we will have to do more cross-province releases in the future.” Dr. Jamartin Sihite, the CEO of the BOS Foundation said in his statement.
Director of Biodiversity Conservation, Ministry of Forestry, Dr. Ir. Novianto Bambang W., MSi states, “Orangutans are protected by the government and their status is Endangered. Based on this and Yayang-Sayang’s case, the government will commence orangutan population monitoring, which includes orangutan sub-species identification by DNA test. Hence the orangutans living beyond their natural habitat, especially those who have been kept by humans and were sent to rehabilitation centers, will be able to be released back into their natural habitat according to their sub-species.”
Anton Nurcahyo, Program Manager of the BOS Foundation Reintroduction Centre at Nyaru Menteng says, “At the moment in Nyaru Menteng there are more than 500 orangutans eligible to be released. Most of them still need to undergo DNA testing to determine their sub-species origin, which will ultimately determine where they will be released. Unfortunately, DNA testing is expensive. By conducting the test prior the orangutan’s admission to a rehabilititation center, the government will help lessen the costs borne by orangutan rehabilitation centers and enable orangutans to complete the rehabilitation process within the appropriate locality.”
The BOS Foundation also conveys its gratitude for all the supporting parties, donors, and sister organisations, such as BOS Australia.
Paulina L. Ela
Yayasan Penyelamatan Orangutan Borneo
ABOUT BOS FOUNDATION
Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) is an Indonesian non-profit organization based in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia, which is committed to rescue, rehabilitate, and reintroduce Borneo orangutans to their natural habitat, as well as educating local communities and increasing public awareness about the conservation of orangutans.
Established since 1991, BOSF has partnered closely with the Ministry of Forestry of the Republic of Indonesia and are supported by international donors, as well as other organizations. BOSF is currently headed by Prof. Dr. Bungaran Saragih as Chairman of the Board of Trustees. For more information, visit www.orangutan.or.id.
PT Restorasi Habitat Orangutan Indonesia (RHOI) is a company founded by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) on April 21, 2009, for a specific purpose, namely to get the forest concession for Ecosystem Restoration (HPH-RE) to release the orangutans.
As an NGO, BOSF could not legally obtain an HPH-RE permit. That’s why BOSF built a private company, namely RHOI, as a vehicle to get it. HPH-RE provides RHOI with the authority to use and manage a concession area – in this case, a forest – which is required to release rehabilitated orangutans from the two rehabilitation centers owned by BOSF, located in East Kalimantan (Samboja Lestari) and in Central Kalimantan (Nyaru Menteng).
On August 18, 2010, RHOI was granted the HPH-RE from the Ministry of Forestry of the Republic of Indonesia, for a forest area of 86,450 hectares in the Regencies of Kutai Kartanegara and East Kutai, East Kalimantan Province. This concession provides a viable, protected and sustainable habitat for orangutans, for 60 years, with renewal option for 35 more years. Funds to pay for the license, amounting to around 1.4 million U.S. dollars, were obtained from BOSF donors in Europe and Australia.
RHOI calls this concession “Kehje Sewen Forest”, adopting a local Dayak Wehea language in which ‘kehje sewen‘ means orangutan. So Kehje Sewen is a forest for the orangutans. For more information, visit www.theforestforever.com.