Feb 03
Orangutan Mother and Child Rescued from Massacre in Oil Palm Plantation and Released into an Ecosystem Restoration Area, Kehje Sewen Forest, East Kalimantan

Orangutan Mother and Child Rescued from Massacre in Oil Palm Plantation and Released into an Ecosystem Restoration Area, Kehje Sewen Forest, East Kalimantan

22_Menemukan Suci & Sri

Two orangutans (mother and child) were rescued on January 22, 2012 and released on January 25, 2012 in Kehje Sewen Forest, in the Regency of East Kutai, East Kalimantan. Kehje Sewen is a forest ecosystem restoration concession (HPH-RE). The right to manage this area has been awarded to PT RHOI.
Jakarta, February 2, 2012. After nearly a week combing several oil palm plantations in the regency of Kutai Kartanegara, East Kalimantan, the Rescue and Release Operation which began on Tuesday, January 17, 2012 finally paid off. On Sunday, January 22, 2012, the Rescue Team, which was a joint-team of staff from PT Restorasi Habitat Orangutan Indonesia (RHOI), Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF), and The Office of Conservation and Natural Resources of East Kalimantan (BKSDA EastKal), managed to save two orangutans (mother and child) in the oil palm plantation of PT Bakacak Himba Bahari (BHB).

A day earlier, the Rescue Team, led by Dr. Aldrianto Priadjati as RHOI Deputy Director of Conservation, had been combing the area but only found a few orangutan nests that were estimated to have been built 2-3 days before. On Sunday morning, January 22, 2012, the Rescue Team received anonymous information that there was a group of people chasing two orangutans in the area of BHB since the night before. Thus the Rescue Team returned to search the BHB area.

The Rescue Team arrived just in time. When the team arrived at the informed location, a group of people were visibly ready with machetes and ropes to catch these two orangutans. Seeing the presence of a team that was also accompanied by officials from BKSDA EastKal – Ahmad Ripai and Ridho – they immediately released the machetes and ropes, allowing the team to conduct the rescue.























The mother orangutan, estimated to be 25 years old, looked exhausted, so there was no resistance when the vet, drh. Agus Irwanto of East Kalimantan Orangutan Reintroduction Program Samboja Lestari – accompanied by Hendro and Muliyono, two technicians from Central Kalimantan Orangutan Reintroduction Program Nyaru Menteng – approached and sedated her. She just hugged her daughter, aged 6 years, very tightly. This behavior is contrary to the behavior of wild orangutans in general, where it is not possible for humans to simply approach them. This suggests that the mother was exhausted after being chased through the night.

According to our informant, the poachers were not local residents, which was apparent from their accent and manner of communicating.  They seemed pleased when the team arrived; and even helped save the orangutans. But when the team thanked them and walked away without giving anything in return, their faces changed. It was clear that they expected something from the rescue.

Having checked their health, both orangutans were implanted with identity chips and the orangutan mother was then fitted with a radio transmitter that will be used for further monitoring. Both orangutans will be monitored regularly for several months to make sure that they’ve adjusted to their new home, in Kehje Sewen Forest.

“As a tribute to Dr. Sri Suci Utami, a leading primatologist in Indonesia who had also supported the team in this operation, the orangutans were named Suci (mother) and Sri (daughter),” said Dr. Priadjati.  We further discovered that Suci is also about 3 months pregnant. “This is good news, because it means that in a few months, one more orangutan will be born in Kehje Sewen Forest,” added drh. Irwanto.

The radio transmitter was donated by an animal welfare organization – Vier Pfoten – also known as Four Paws. In addition, Vier Pfoten also funded this activity entirely.

After the chip and radio transmitter had been implanted, Suci and Sri were taken to Kehje Sewen by road.  The team stopped regularly to do routine checks along the way, ensuring the wellbeing of the orangutans.  To access Kehje Sewen, the team must go through the town of Muara Wahau in East Kutai Regency, then continue on to Pelangsiran, a transit area for agarwood and bird nest collectors, which is right on the border of Kehje Sewen Forest.  After that, the team entered the Kehje Sewen Forest and to a designated release location, called Gunung Belah.

With unpredictable weather, the team traveled to the release location in harsh conditions and encountered many obstacles such as tracks that were badly damaged, slippery and muddy, landslides, broken bridges and several rivers that must be crossed with limited tools and mode of transportation. Due to these conditions, on arrival at the site of Gunung Belah, the team decided to bring Suci and Sri to their release point in the forest on a stretcher, because it was impossible to carry them in cages.

In the forest, Suci and Sri woke up from anesthesia and after a recovery period they began climbing up into the trees. They looked carefree and happy, swinging among branches of the trees.

The Rescue and Release Operation was completed successfully. The Rescue Team returned safely to their respective homelands. This activity was initiated from the goodwill of East Kalimantan provincial government, with a meeting between BOSF, RHOI and BKSDA EastKal with oil palm companies in East Kalimantan that belong to the Indonesian Palm Oil Association (GAPKI). The meeting, held on Saturday, January 14, 2012 eventually resulted in the formation of a Rescue Team seconded to BKSDA by the BOS Foundation, with the aim to find and save wild orangutans from oil palm plantations.

But the Rescue and Release Operation is not without consequences. “Releasing wild orangutans in Kehje Sewen Forest resulted in reduced area which was originally prepared for rehabilitated orangutans. RHOI requires more land for orangutans. RHOI has filed Ecosystem Restoration (RE) permit applications for additional lands in East Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan, but the process seems to run into various obstacles. Government support is needed to accelerate this process, so that rehabilitated orangutans that are now lining up in BOSF rehabilitation centers can be immediately released,” said Prof. Dr. Bungaran Saragih, as BOSF Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

In addition, the private sector, especially companies / oil palm plantations, in fact have a great responsibility in orangutan conservation efforts. The biggest challenge now is to make the private sector aware of this and get serious commitment from them.  Most companies in Indonesia tend to oversimplify the process of natural resource management and charge environmental costs to other parties. Yet logically, externalities or negative impacts of a business should be included as part of the company’s own operational costs.

“Over recent years until now, the orangutan population has dropped dramatically and is on the verge of extinction. Saving wild orangutans from potential conflict with humans is only a short-term solution. Commitment and involvement of all parties, especially the private sector whose businesses intersect with their presence, is necessary to enforce the law and conserve the orangutans,” said Tandya Tjahjana, Head of BKSDA EastKal.

“We also still need a lot of financial support from various parties to continue the struggle to preserve the orangutan and its habitat,” added Dr. Signe Preuschoft, a primate expert from Vier Pfoten and concurrently advisor to BOSF.

In this new year 2012, Suci and Sri also get a new hope to return to live freely and safely in their habitat. The Orangutan Rescue and Release Operation, held in cooperation with RHOI, BOSF and BKSDA EastKal, with support from the Governments of East Kalimantan Province and East Kutai Regency, as well as Vier Pfoten, successfully demonstrated that the synergy between development and conservation is feasible and therefore should be mandatory.

release

Aug 24

Orangutans in rehabilitation to get new homes in Kalimantan

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 08/24/2010 9:19 AM | National
With a permit already in hand, PT Orangutan Habitat Restoration Indonesia (ROI) is preparing to release orangutans into Borneo jungles after years of being held in rehabilitation centers.

The Forestry Ministry awarded a ROI license to restore 86,450 hectares of former timber concession area in East Kutai district, East Kalimantan, to be the new home for rehabilitated orangutans. 

“We target the gradual release to start in April 2011 at the latest,” chairman of Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) Togu Manurung told The Jakarta Post.

There are currently 226 orangutans held in captivity in the BOSF rehabilitation center in East Kalimantan. The BOSF set up ROI when the government allowed only the company to propose permits for ecosystem restoration projects.

He said that the new area was located 750 meters above sea level and well-stocked with tree species to provide shelter and food for wild orangutans.

The BOSF also rehabilitated some 612 orangutans in its Central Kalimantan center.

Togu said the release of orangutans in Central Kalimantan was expected to start from November in cooperation with timber company of PT Akhates Plywood.

“The plan is to return some 40 orangutans back to their habitat in the jungle by November, the forest fruit season,” he said.

The company currently proposed an additional area of some 23,000 hectares in East Kalimantan and 200,000 hectares in Central Kalimantan.

BOSF chairman of board of trustee, Bungaran Saragih asserted that ROI would not harvest trees in its concession areas.

“We are committed to protecting the orangutans. They need forests. They have been living in the rehabilitation centers for too long,” he told the Post on Saturday.

Bungaran, who was former forestry and agriculture minister, admitted the high costs to conserve orangutans, whose population sharply declined due to the expansion of oil palm plantations and mining sites, among others.

He said ROI would spend at least two years monitoring the daily activities of released orangutans in its new habitat to ensure that they could survive in the area. 

“We should teach [orangutans] survival skills for the wild. Some have been in the rehabilitation center for about nine years,” he said.

The government pledged to release every orangutan into forests. In the last 35 years, about 50,000 orangutans have died due to deforestation and habitat loss, government data shows. 

About 90 percent of orangutans live in Borneo and Sumatra. It is estimated there are 6,667 orangutans in Sumatra, mostly in the Leuser ecosystem, and 54,567 in Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo.

The remaining 10 percent are in Sabah and Sarawak, Malaysia. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature said the orangutan species native to Kalimantan was endangered. Orangutans in Sumatra are also critically endangered.

JP/Adianto P. Simamora
Aug 24

Aug 23, 2010

Sally Kneidel, Ph.D

Pet trade threatens orangutan survival

“Having a pet orangutan is a status symbol,” I was told by my Indonesian friend Ria, who lives and works in Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital. Doesn’t matter if the animal lives in a small, dirty cage behind the house, which most do; it’s still a social asset to have one.

That’s too bad, because the local, national, and international demand for young orangutans as pets is a major threat to the survival of both species: the Bornean orangutan and Sumatran orangutan.  Since both are endangered, they are theoretically protected by law from commercial trade.  However, in Indonesia, these laws are mostly ignored.

Habitat loss remains the single biggest threat to orangutans,but as it turns out, the pet trade and deforestation are closely linked.


At the market, I was offered an orangutan and a leopard

Almost every Indonesian city has a bird or wildlife market, where legal and illegal species are sold by independent vendors to anyone who can pay. I went to 4 of these markets during my Asian travels, including Indonesia’s biggest market – Pramuka, in downtown Jakarta. I hired an Indonesian from “ProFauna Indonesia” (a wildlife conservation NGO in Jakarta) to go with me as my guide and translator.

We saw plenty of wild-caught primates, birds, reptiles, and small mammals at Pramuka. But we didn’t see any orangutans. We were, however, offered ababy orangutan for the price of 20-25 million IDR ($2200-2800) and an adult orangutan for 30 million IDR ($3300). Pramuka is famous for its network of homes behind the market (referred to as “in the back”) where especially valuable or illegal animals are kept safely out of sight until a sale is made.

Vendors often keep photos of their illegal (endangered and thus protected) animals on their cell phones, to show interested buyers. For example, we were shown a photo of an available baby leopard that the vendor said was “in the back.” The leopard was offered to us for 80 million IDRs ($8800), although the vendor called it a “Javan tiger” to justify the price. [Javan tigers are actually extinct, although many potential buyers may not know that.]

The majority of vendors would not talk to us about orangutans they might or might not have, because I was not in one of the demographic groups that typically buy animals (Chinese and Koreans are likely to buy, they said. Australians, Europeans, and Americans just look.) But this one vendor did talk to us about orangs – the one who quoted us prices. He said that he didn’t have an orangutan on the spot, but “could bring it directly,” if we had the money. Since we didn’t slap down the money, we didn’t get to see it.

For forest-dwellers, orangutans are valuable trade commodities

Although orangutan sales in the past may have been concentrated at wildlife markets, nowadays sales often occur at other locations. Pet orangutans may be moved from the interior of the country to more developed coastal towns, or professional traders may travel to a remote area and buy or order young orangutans to transport to populated areas. According to TRAFFIC’s Victor Nijman, most forest-dwelling people in Indonesia know the commercial value of an infant orangutan. Given the absence of effective law enforcement, few will resist the opportunity to obtain an infant to sell.  In a country where more than half the population survives on $2/day or less, young orangutans are regarded as valuable trade commodities.

Unchecked timber industry yields orangutans for market

The hunting and capturing of orangutans for the pet trade is, in a way, a by-product of the timber trade and the conversion of forests to palm-oil plantations. As roads are created to provide access to not-yet plundered forests, these arboreal red apes become more accessible to humans with guns. Newly exposed mothers are often shot to obtain their infants. As trees are felled, orangutans may be killed or they may become stranded and vulnerable to capture.

Up to 15 orangutans die to get one live infant to market

TRAFFIC published a number of estimates of the “loss rate” – the number of orangutans killed in order to get one live orang to a village or city where it can be sold. Quite often both mother and infant are killed if the mother is shot from a tree and falls, so another mother is shot to try again. That’s a loss rate of 3. And in shipping the infants, 5 may be packed in one crate in hopes that one animal will arrive alive. If 4 die, that pushes the loss rate to 7. Some researchers estimate average loss rates as high as 15! (See the 2009 paper listed below for more about loss rate assessments.)

The situation is frustrating, and even incomprehensible in some ways. What is the Indonesian government doing to stop this “harvesting” of orangutans like they were ears of corn?

Indonesia is a trade center due to lax enforcement of wildlife laws

Here’s a fact that surprises most Americans: the illegal trade in animals and animal parts is the 3rd biggest black market in the world, behind drugs and arms (according to Interpol).

Indonesia is an epicenter of this illegal trade, because of the country’s rich tropical biodiversity and because of the laissez-faire attitude of the Indonesian government. Although the country has enacted a range of laws and regulations to protect species and limit deforestation, the government fails to enforce these laws effectively. Indonesia is also a Party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and all orangutans are listed in Appendix I, which prohibits all international commercial trade of these species among contracting Parties. Yet this treaty, like the local legislation, is generally ignored. I was told by several Indonesian conservation workers that if an Indonesian is found to possess a pet orangutan, the chances of having the animal confiscated or of facing prosecution are extremely low. Rather, the pet owner can, upon discovery of his pet, probably obtain a permit from the government that will allow him to legally keep the orangutan.

TRAFFIC researcher Victor Nijman found that, in spite of existing laws and treaties, the number of confiscated orangutans being delivered to rescue centers and the number of new arrivals at local zoos has remained more or less steady over the last 15 years, suggesting that the brisk trade in orangutans is not decreasing.

What should be done?

“TRAFFIC: the wildlife trade monitoring network” is very active in Southeast Asia and has studied the situation closely and made several recommendations that seem to hit the nail on the head. Their published papers are excellent sources of information. (See “Sources” below.) When I got home from my journey, I sent TRAFFIC copies of all my wildlife-market photos and videos, in case they might be helpful. They’re working hard; I want to help!

TRAFFIC’s recommendations for reducing the trade in orangutans are as follows (I’ve condensed and abbreviated):

1. Better protection of the remaining forest is needed – through the Indonesian government, land concession holders (timber and palm-oil companies), and landowners.

2.Wildlife protection laws need to be enforced more effectively.

3. Handing out registration letters to make pets “legal” needs to be stopped immediately. Persons whose protected wildlife is confiscated should face legal charges as a deterrent to others.

4. The relationship between poaching of orangutans and illegal logging should be more thoroughly assessed.

5. The major ports of Indonesia should be monitored more stringently to curb international sales of orangutans.

6. Co-operation between the government and NGOs that work to protect orangutans and rehabilitate confiscated orphans should be increased.

7. Bold and innovative approaches are needed to educate the public with regard to buying, selling, and keeping protected wildlife as pets.

(See the 2005b paper listed below for more about these recommendations.)


Sources for this post and for additional information:

Victor Nijman. 2005a. Hanging in the Balance: An Assessment of Trade in Orang-utans and Gibbons on Kalimantan, Indonesia. A TRAFFIC Southeast Asia report.

Victor Nijman. 2009. An Assessment of Trade in Gibbons and Orang-utans in Sumatra, Indonesia. A TRAFFIC Southeast Asia report.

Victor Nijman. June 2005b. In Full Swing: An Assessment of Trade in Orangutans and Gibbons on Java and Bali. A TRAFFIC Southeast Asia report.

Serge A. Wich et al. 2008. Distribution and conservation status of the orang-utan (Pongospp.) on Borneo and Sumatra: how many remain? Fauna and Flora International. Oryx42(3):329-339.

Eric Meijaard et al. August 11, 2010. Hunting a key factor in Orangutan’s decline. TRAFFIC home page.

Aug 24
24 Aug 2010 11:50:58 GMT
Source: Reuters

* Likely to be first fully validated REDD project under VCS

* Approval of methodology boost for REDD projects

By David Fogarty and Sunanda Creagh

SINGAPORE/JAKARTA, Aug 24 (Reuters) – An Indonesian project aimed at saving a vast tract of rainforest has past a milestone seen as a boost in the development of a global market in forest carbon credits.

That market under the U.N.-backed scheme reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) could eventually be worth billions of dollars annually and is central to the goal of driving private sector involvement in forest protection.

The Rimba Raya conservation project covers nearly 100,000 ha (250,000 acres) of carbon-rich peat swamp forest in the province of Central Kalimantan on Borneo island. Forests soak up large amounts of carbon dioxide and scientists say curbing deforestation is a key way to fight climate change.

The project has earned the first-ever approval of an accounting method for measuring the reduction in carbon emissions under REDD and is being developed by InfiniteEARTH, with funding from Shell <RDSa.L>, Gazprom Market and Trading <GAZP.MM> and the Clinton Foundation.

The Voluntary Carbon Standard programme, the most respected standard for voluntary carbon offsets, approved the methodology after it passed a mandated double auditing process.

The project itself is now undergoing third-party validation and is likely to become the world’s first VCS-approved REDD project later this year, Gazprom and InfiniteEARTH say.

The step is a boost for other REDD projects and investors wanting certainty on the quality of REDD carbon credits. There are several dozen REDD projects globally, including more than a dozen in Indonesia at various stages of development.

“This is seen as a landmark moment for the carbon market,” Gazprom said in a statement. “Historically REDD projects have suffered due to their exclusion from the Kyoto Protocol,” it said, as well as the absence of a recognised global standard.

The project is expected to reduce 18.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from being emitted in the first 10 years and up to 75 million tonnes in the 30-year life of the project.

At about $10 a credit, that means about $750 million over 30 years.

LIVELIHOODS

The future sale of carbon offsets from the project will help boost the livelihoods of more than 11,000 people in the area and save rare species including orang-utans and other primates, the statement says.

REDD aims to reward developing countries that save, protect and rehabilitate forests through large-scale projects. Poorer nations and local forest communities are meant to take a major share of the sale of the carbon credits to rich nations, which can use them to meet mandated emission reduction targets.

REDD is not yet formally part of a broader U.N. climate pact and potential buyers of the credits have been waiting for an approved global standard for forest CO2 credits to ensure the reductions are real and verifiable.

“The methodology was designed for conservation projects that avoid planned land-use conversion in tropical peat swamp forests in Southeast Asia,” the statement said.

The project itself borders Tanjung Puting national park and the area has been under growing threat from encroaching palm oil plantations.

“It shows small-scale REDD can be done. This is also demonstrating the ability of project-based activities, that they can do that,” Daniel Murdiyarso, senior scientist at Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), told Reuters on Tuesday. (Editing by Sue Thomas)

Aug 24
Free At Last: First rehabilitated orangutans in 9 years to be released into the wilds of Borneo

Indonesia Forestry Ministry issues decree allowing orangutan release in restored timber concession forest

Bogor, Indonesia, 20 Aug 2010: The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) announced today that it would, for the first time in 9 years, release  rehabilitated captive orangutans  back into the wild.  The long-awaited release was finally facilitated by the issuance of a special Ministerial Decree by the Indonesian Forestry Minister dated August 18, 2010, which will allow the release of the orangutan into a former timber concession restored into natural forest by PT Orangutan Habitat Restoration Indonesia. The restored forest is located in the East Kutai district of East Kalimantan, Indonesia.

PT Orangutan Habitat Restoration is a forest rehabilitation company established by BOSF for the purpose of creating a suitable area to release rehabilitated orangutans currently living in BOSF rehabilitation centers in Kalimantan.

The release is the first step toward the release of all captive orangutans in Indonesia by 2015 as directed in December 2007 by the Indonesian government at Nusa Dua Bali. For the past 8 years BOSF has been unable to release rehabilitated orangutans back to the wild due to a lack of suitable habitat for the releases.  The Forestry Ministry Decree has now, for the first time, opened the door for BOSF to begin releasing the formerly captive orangutans it has rehabilitated for survival in the wild.

The release area was selected because its conditions are near perfect for the survival process for newly released orangutans. It is an 86,450 hectare site in which there is a low density of wild orangutans.  Generally, around 30,000 hectares are required to support 250 orangutans. The topographical conditions in the restored forest area are ideal, with an altitude of 750 meters above sea level and well-stocked with tree species which provide shelter and food for wild orangutans.  It is also safe from human threats as the local inhabitants are highly supportive of the release program.

At the present time, BOSF has some 838 orangutans in its rehabilitation centers, with 612 in the Central Kalimantan Reintroduction Center in Nyaru Menteng and another 226 in the East Kalimantan Reintroduction Center in Samboja Lestari.

The historical release process began during a courtesy call by the Board of Trustees and Board of Directors in April of this year to then forestry minister Zulkifli Hasan, who voiced his full support for the BOSF release program.  The August 18 Ministerial Decree is a direct outcome of that visit.

“Now we can begin to concentrate on the next step, the preparation of new habitats,” said BOSF CEO Togu Manurung.  “There is still much that we have to do,” he added, “but at least this is a good start for all of us.”

Manurung further said that the issuance of the decree did a great service to the BOSF as it will allow the organization to begin to realize its goals.  The first priority, he said, was the release of Bornean Orangutans into their natural habitat with the help of local populations.

“The government has now started the process of issuing permits for us to take control of suitable land for orangutan release,” said the BOSF Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Professor Bungaran Saragih, a former Minister of Forestry.  “We must release all captive orangutans back into the wild.  They have for too long been living in cages,” said Professor Saragih.

The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation is an organization committed to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of orangutans in Central and East Kalimantan.  The BOSF has a number of sister organizations around the world supporting its efforts with fund-raising and public awareness. BOSF currently operates two orangutan reintroduction centers—Samboja Lestari in East Kalimantan and Nyaru Menteng in Central Kalimantan. BOSF also operates land rehabilitation program at Samboja Lestari, and program for the rehabilitation of orangutan natural habitat as well as the 369,000 hectare Mawas conservation area in Central Kalimantan, which has an estimated orangutan population of 3,000.  The Bogor, West Java-based foundation also operates an eco-tourism lodge at its Samboja, East Kalimantan rehabilitation center.

Sep 13

If you want to learn more about orangutans, please visit our affliate Orangutan Outreach.

www.redapes.org