Orang-utan release operations continue in Kalimantan

Working through our partner, the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF), Fauna & Flora International has now helped facilitate the reintroduction of three groups of Bornean orang-utans into protected forest areas in Central Kalimantan.

The third group, comprising eight orang-utans, joined the 15 primates already released in 2012. So far the successful reintroductions have provided previously unrecorded scientific data that will aid scientists in planning future reintroductions for orang-utans and other large primate species.

The eight release candidates departed from the Nyaru Menteng Orang-utan Reintroduction Programme to Tjilik Riwut Airport where they were transported by airplane to Puruk Cahu.

Bornean orang-utan. Credit: Ally Catterick/FFI

Bornean orang-utan. Credit: Ally Catterick/FFI

After a nights rest in the transitory enclosures constructed in the area of PT Indo Muro Kencana, the group were transported to Bukit Batikap Protected Forest by helicopter, and were released on the same day.

This release is contributing towards the goal of seeing all rescued orang-utans reintroduced back into the wild by 2015. The plan, announced by the President of the Republic of Indonesia during the Climate Change Conference in Bali in 2007, relies on suitable forest conditions, one of the primary aspects involved in the decade of planning for these releases.

Professor Bungaran Saragih, Chairman of BOSF Board of Trustees said, “I feel very happy and sad at the same time; sad because we have to be separated with orang-utans that had been under our care for a considerable time, but I am also delighted that they can finally return to their real home. We must ensure that the orang-utans we are reintroducing can survive to form new, viable populations in the wild.”

All released orang-utans will be monitored for at least one year to ensure their ability to adapt to their new home.

Approximately 600 orang-utans are still awaiting release from the Nyaru Menteng Orang-utan Reintroduction Programme.