A New Life in Kehje Sewen

The Couple, Emerson and Sarmi

These four orangutans; Emerson, Sarmi, Mona and Inge, have been living in the Kehje Sewen Forest for two weeks, and Emerson looks like he is increasingly enjoying his new life in the new home. Emerson especially is already demonstrating that he is adapting very happily to life in the forest.  Back on October 13, 2013, the day he was reintroduced to the forest, the PRM team recorded that Emerson spent much time just simply observing his surroundings. He looked around, watching us from the tree where he was hanging and finally as the night drew in over the Kehje Sewen forest, he made his very first long-call, claiming his new territory.

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Emerson, enjoying his new life in the forest.

Emerson seemed more excited when he was finally reunited with Sarmi on his second day in the forest. Sarmi who had also just been reintroduced to the forest together with Mona, is Emerson’s closest friend since they lived together on the Pre-release Island in Samboja Lestari. When they were finally reunited, they started to explore Kehje Sewen forest. They played and foraged together. The PRM team’s observation results show that Emerson and Sarmi have tried cambium barks of Mahang (Macaranga sp.) and Jackfruit (Actocarpus sp.) tree. They also enjoyed fruits and young leaves of Aglaia sp., Spatholobus sp., Xylopia sp. and many more.

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Emerson is enjoying cambium bark.

Sarmi seems to be a bit more of an adventurer than Emerson and when they are not travelling together, Sarmi loves to explore the Kehje Sewen Forest further on her own. Only a few days after being reintroduced, Sarmi had already traveled up to the Piapung area, around 1.6 km from her release point. However, this avid adventurer still returns to her release point.  She seems to be getting her bearings and using her memory as a built in compass to assess her new home.

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Sarmi playing in her new home.

Most of the time, Sarmi is busy exploring her new surroundings and playing up in the trees, while Emerson prefers to keep observing and learning his new area at a more relaxed pace. After his very first long-call, which he made on his first night in the forest, Emerson continuously made long-calls in the following days, of course to claim Kehje Sewen Forest as his new kingdom! Everyone in the forest should be aware, the big guy has finally arrived.

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Sarmi, relaxing in one tree branch.

The Lovely Mona and the Intruder, Sarmi

These past few days, Mona looked a little upset towards Sarmi. Why? Because Sarmi has continuously been bothering Mona. Actually, Sarmi just wanted to ask her to play together, but Mona didn’t seem keen on the idea.  Perhaps because she preferred to enjoy her new home by herself. Mona tried many ways to chase Sarmi away, but Sarmi was not one who easily gives up. She repeatedly approached Mona and asked her to play, unfortunately to no avail since Mona still refused.

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Mona looked a little upset towards Sarmi.

Mona is still in the adaptation phase and it may take some time for her to get used to her new home. The good thing is that she keeps on trying and learning. Mona loves to try new foods. According to the PRM team, she has tried Mahang (Macaranga sp.), Puloh (Pternandra cogniauxii), Kedondong (Kordersiodendron pinnatum), Mango (Mangifera sp.), rattan young leaves and her favorite Kunau-kunau (Baccaurea tetandra) fruit. She really loves it and sometimes she enjoys this food all day long!

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Mona is still in the adaption phase.

Up to today, the PRM team is still observing Mona’s development. Let’s hope that Mona can adapt more to her new home in the near future so that she feels more settled and can play together again with her old friend Sarmi.

Is Inge Still ‘The Little Miss Clean’?

How about Inge, our 100th orangutan? According to the PRM Team, Inge seems to be enjoying her time in the Kehje Sewen Forest. Although not going too far, Inge loves to travel and explore her new area. She has also tried various foods such as Kedondong (Koordersiodenron pinnatum), Kalanggo (Duabanga Moluccana), Aglaia sp., Jackfurit (Actocarpus sp.), Rattan, Ginger (Zingiberaceae), fern and many more. One clever young lady!

Inge, bergantung (wulan)

Inge playing up in the tree.

She looks really happy trying and discovering new things. Apparently, Inge is still ‘The Little Miss Clean’! The PRM team saw her cleaning her body several times.  When there were dry leaves or small twigs falling upon her head, she immediately pats her head trying to clean it up.

Inge, saat ada daun jatuh, ia membersihkan kepalanya (wulan)

When there were dry leaves or small twigs falling upon her head, she immediately pats her head.

One day, one of the PRM team members saw her playing by the river. At first she was just playing with the water. Yet after a while, she began to wash her hand, head, foot and her body. She looked like she was thoroughly enjoying her time playing with water. She is one of our orangutans who seems able to adapt to the forest easily, according to the PRM team observations results

Good job Emerson, Sarmi, Mona and Inge! We do hope that you can learn much more from the real forest and continue thriving as orangutans living in the wild. Enjoy your new lives in the Kehje Sewen Forest!

Text and photos by: Putri Wulansari, PRM Team Coordinator

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Samboja Lestari Orangutan Release Day-2: 100 Orangutans are Back in the Wild!

The forest looked so charming from the air as the helicopter circled the area to check the weather this morning. The sun shed a soft, pale light on the majestic Kehje Sewen, bathing everything in an ethereal, elevating glow. It was the final day of Orangutan Release activities this month and we were again blessed with wonderful weather.

A bright and beautiful morning in Kehje Sewen

A bright and beautiful morning in Kehje Sewen

Dr. Aldrianto Priadjati, RHOI Deputy Director of Conservation, conducted a short briefing this morning. Yesterday’s success and Emerson’s long call last night had helped set the spirit high. It was a transformative feeling. Then, empty travel cages were packed and loaded onto the helicopter. Soon after, it lifted and hovered for a minute or two over Camp 103, then disappeared in the glorious morning sky. The helicopter was heading back to Uyang Lahai Airport in Miau Baru Village. Another busy day had just started.

Morning in Samboja

Miles away in the tiny suburb of Samboja, another team was getting ready. Six orangutans in the Socialization Enclosure A of Samboja Lestari Orangutan Reintroduction Program were especially intrigued by the early morning activities around them. Acong, Agus, Noel, Mayang, Inge and Siwie seemed to sense that something important was going on. They were quite right. Today was the day they would no longer have bars to keep them apart from the world they were born into. A world of freedom.

Inge and Siwie intuitively got closer together as Vet Agus Irwanto, who is also Samboja Lestari’s Program Manager, put on his gloves and prepared to sedate them. Wiwik Astutik, Samboja Lestari’s Coordinator of Animal Welfare and Forest School 3 watched anxiously like a mother about to see her children leaving for college overseas. These six, Inge in particular, had been her students, her children and her best friends for nearly all of her time in the BOS Foundation. Wiwik was happy and nervous at the same time.

Inge and Siwie intuitively got closer together as the vet prepared to sedate them

Inge and Siwie intuitively got closer together as the vet prepared to sedate them

The 100th Orangutan!

Inge, Noel and Siwie were all successfully sedated by around 7.30 am. After they were all transferred into their respective travel cages, Wiwik approached Inge’s travel cage. She was already awake. Wiwik lovingly talked to her, giving Inge her final words of encouragement. A moment froze in time. Wiwik was reliving all the memories of the past 11 years with her, caring for her, nurturing her and teaching her to be who she really is – a wild orangutan. Inge was the “Little Miss Clean”, a princess who had been kept as a pet for too long, altering her natural behavior. She was weak, tame, shy and unusually clean.

But look at her now. She is everything but weak and tame and shy and unusually clean. She is strong, intelligent and independent. In fact, she is a dominant female orangutan. Wiwik is so proud of her, but sad to say goodbye. She tickled Inge’s chin briefly then let the technicians load her onto the truck.

Wiwik approached Inge and gave her the final words of encouragement

Wiwik approached Inge and gave her the final words of encouragement

Yes, if you haven’t already guessed, Inge is the BOS Foundation’s 100th Orangutan to be released in the wild since 2012!

Flying Away

Agus, Acong and Mayang were soon sedated as well and transferred into their travel cages. By 8.45 am, all were ready go. The travel cages sat comfortably on the truck and the team departed to Sepinggan Airport in Balikpapan. The six orangutans left the comfort of the idyllic restored forest of Samboja Lestari. Challenges lie ahead but they were ready. They were going to their real home.

The trip to the airport took around one hour. Arriving there, the team had to wait a bit for the final preparations of the airplane. At 10.45 am, the cages were finally unloaded from the truck and loaded onto the Premiair Grand Caravan, the same aircraft that took Emerson, Sarmi and Mona yesterday.

Truck carrying the six orangutans arrived at Sepinggan Airport, Balikpapan

Truck carrying the six orangutans arrived at Sepinggan Airport, Balikpapan

Acong and Inge were loaded first, followed by Noel, Siwie, Mayang and Agus. Wiwik and Vet Putra also boarded the airplane accompanying their six fury friends on the first leg of their journey. This flight would take them from Sepinggan Airport in Balikpapan to Uyang Lahai Airport in Miau Baru. At 11.13 am, the Grand Caravan took off and landed safely at Uyang Lahai around an hour later, welcomed by the Orangutan Release Team in Miau Baru.

There were two helicopter flights into Kehje Sewen today, each carrying three orangutans. The first group consisted of Agus, Acong and Mayang. They were immediately loaded on the sling load. But before the sling net was secured, the team gave them some food and drinks, and bid farewell to these Forest School graduates. It was the last time they were fed by humans. After this, it was up to them to find their own food.

Helicopter leaving Uyang Lahai with Agus, Acong and Mayang on sling load

Helicopter leaving Uyang Lahai with Agus, Acong and Mayang on sling load

The helicopter took off at 12.37 am and arrived in Kehje Sewen at 1.18 pm. The sky was blue and the air was deliciously crisp. The team in Kehje Sewen Forest was ready and the engines of the pickup cars were started as the three travel cages were loaded onto them.

For the Wild at Heart

Unlike Emerson, Sarmi and Mona who were released around the Lembu River area, today’s release was conducted at a different location, away from the Lembu River. This is because Emerson, Sarmi and Mona are semi-wild orangutans who still retained some or all of their forest skills at the time of their rescues. While the remaining six orangutans are rehabilitants who were orphaned at a very young age and thus had to learn their skills from humans at Forest School. These rehabilitated orangutans, or rehabilitants, may not be able to compete with wild or semi-wild orangutans in search for food and therefore must be separated from them. This is just one of the many criteria we have to consider when choosing a suitable site for their release.

Gunung Belah is an area blissfully untouched by time

Gunung Belah is an area blissfully untouched by time

The chosen release site for Agus, Acong and Mayang was located at the area of Gunung Belah, the same area where the BOS Foundation released Casey and her friends back in April 2012. It is an area blissfully untouched by time, filled with thick vegetation, towering trees and wild forest food. It is the perfect home for the wild at heart, home for the orangutans.

Agus was definitely getting very impatient by the time they arrived at the release site. He was screaming and banging on his cage. So the team let him out first. Adoption Coordinator Monica and Samboja Lestari Technician Angga opened his cage door. Sure enough, Agus sprinted to the nearest tree and climbed to the top in lighting speed. He really wanted to get out. Don’t worry, Agus. You will never have to go back in a cage. You’re home now!

Agus really wanted to get out!

Agus really wanted to get out!

Then Dr. Aldrianto Priadjati opened Mayang’s travel cage. Unlike Agus, Mayang took her time examining the new environment. She walked and looked around, choosing a tree. But when she did, she too quickly climbed to the top and rested in the height of the canopy.

Mayang finally chose a tree to climb

Mayang finally chose a tree to climb

Acong was a character. She seemed calm in her travel cage, waiting patiently for her turn. But when RHOI Technician Syawal opened her cage, she turned around and chased everyone to the river. She was clearly just as frustrated as Agus was. Who can blame her? It was a long and tiring journey, indeed.

She stood there by the riverside for a while, eyeing the team carefully. But soon enough, she took to a tree near the river and started to climb. The team let out a breath of relief and returned to Camp 103. The first three orangutans are now home.

Acong didn’t want to see humans around her

Acong didn’t want to see humans around her

Heartfelt Goodbyes from Wiwik

In the meantime the helicopter arrived back at Uyang Lahai to pick up the final three – Noel, Siwie and, our 100th Orangutan, Inge. Time was precious. It was already 2 o’clock in the afternoon. The team rolled up their sleeves again and loaded the travel cages onto the sling load while the helicopter was refueled.

While waiting, Wiwik stayed with Inge, giving her fruits once in a while

While waiting, Wiwik stayed with Inge, giving her fruits once in a while

There were heartfelt goodbyes at Uyang Lahai along with the familiar warmth all of us on the Orangutan Release Team feel no matter how many times we have witnessed this. Wiwik in particular fell silent, trying to hide her tears. Her babies have all grown up. Inge, the little princess, has also grown up, ready to venture on her own.

We pin high hopes on their shoulders, the hopes to see a new generation of wild orangutans in the near future. Wiwik knew this. She looked up to the sky as the helicopter disappeared in the clouds, wiped her tears, and smiled.

Happy but nervous at the same time, Wiwik tried to hide her tears

Happy but nervous at the same time, Wiwik tried to hide her tears

Moments of Freedom

The helicopter landed in Kehje Sewen 45 minutes later. One technician was especially eager to welcome this group. He was one of Inge’s teachers at Forest School during her early years at Samboja Lestari. His name is Syahrul and he would be the one opening Inge’s travel cage. He was touched by the honor and could not wait to see his former student finally be where she truly belongs.

Syahrul and the rest of the Orangutan Release Team loaded the cages onto the pickup cars that took them to a walking trail leading to the release site at Gunung Belah, from where they continued on foot. At 3.23 pm, they arrived on site and began the release of Noel. Pak Min, a local driver from Pelangsiran – a transit town at the border of Kehje Sewen Forest – who has helped and supported us tremendously in every activity in the forest, was given the chance to open Noel’s cage.

Noel enjoying his new home

Noel enjoying his new home

Like Acong, Noel also became a bit aggressive. Fortunately, the team managed to avoid any conflicts with him. He soon climbed a liana and swung around happily enjoying his first few moments of his freedom.

Next, vet Anin opened Siwie’s cage. After the experiences with Acong and Noel, the team was a little worried that Siwie too was a little agitated. But good-natured Siwie did not even pay any attention to anyone around her. She grabbed a liana and swung to a Magnolia tree. There she rested relishing her new forest home.

Good-natured Siwie, climbing on a tree trunk

Good-natured Siwie, climbing on a tree trunk

The 100th Orangutan is Free!

The moment had come for the 100th Orangutan. The “Little Miss Clean”. The lovely princess. The special one with red lips and gorgeous hair. It was finally Inge’s turn to be released.

Syahrul, who has worked in Samboja Lestari for 17 years, unlocked the cage and opened its door. Inge came out leisurely and, for a moment, just stood nearby. Syahrul was only one meter away from her. Inge looked at him for a few seconds, as if saying goodbye, then also found a Magnolia tree. She climbed the tree and started eating. She is indeed an expert in finding wild forest food!

The 100th Orangutan’s cage was about to be opened by Syahrul

The 100th Orangutan’s cage was about to be opened by Syahrul

Syahrul was speechless. He was so moved by the experience, he couldn’t say a word for a while. Then finally, “It’s unbelievable. There were times when I thought she would never be released. She was so spoiled. Now look at her. Just look at her!” he said proudly. Inge will no longer be remembered as the “Little Miss Clean” or the “Princess”. Wild and free, she will be remembered forever as the 100th Orangutan released by the BOS Foundation.

We Thank YOU!

The helicopter took off and returned to Balikpapan, leaving the otherworldly views of Kehje Sewen Forest behind. The Orangutan Release Team was finally able to stretch on their beds and get some rest. On the contrary, the Post-Release Monitoring (PRM) Team has started to get busy.

Inge, the 100th orangutan, says thank YOU!

Inge, the 100th orangutan, says thank YOU!

There are now 18 orangutans in Kehje Sewen to monitor closely. Adding the 82 Central Kalimantan orangutans released in Bukit Batikap Conservation Forest since 2012, the BOS Foundation has successfully reintroduced a total of 100 orangutans into their natural habitat. It is a milestone that would not be possible without the incredible support from all stakeholders, including the Government of Indonesia, local communities around the release sites, private sector donors, individual donors, partner organizations and other conservation organizations across the globe. On behalf of the 100 orangutans, we thank YOU!

And we also thank YOU!

And we also thank YOU!

SUPPORT THE ORANGUTAN RELEASE ACTIVITIES

AND HELP US SEND MORE ORANGUTANS BACK TO THEIR FREEDOM!

DONATE HERE:

http://www.orangutan.or.id/donate

Text by: The BOS Foundation and RHOI Communications Team

Samboja Lestari Orangutan Release Day-1: A Beautiful Goodbye

The sun had not arisen yet and the fog was still lingering. But the Orangutan Release Team at Samboja Lestari were already preparing for the release event today. At 5 in the morning, we gathered at the fruit storage area for an early breakfast together. Thereafter the team headed to the release candidates’ enclosures.

The Veterinarians and technicians getting ready for today’s Orangutan Release

The Veterinarians and technicians getting ready for today’s Orangutan Release

Today, three orangutans were going to be released: Emerson, Sarmi and Mona. Six other candidates, Acong, Agus, Noel, Mayang, Inge and Siwie will be released tomorrow. The Samboja Lestari veterinarian team, which consisted of Vets Agus, Agnes, and Putra, prepared the sedation doses. Technician Imam Gozali was appointed to administer the anesthetic darts for the first three orangutans.

Three of our team members – Ahmat (the Helicopter Landing Officer or HLO whom we seconded from the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Reintroduction Program), Monica (Adoption Coordinator and part of our Communications Team) and Vet Anin – were already on the way to Sepinggan Airport in Balikpapan. They flew by helicopter from Balikpapan, transited in Uyang Lahai Airport in Miau Baru Village for a quick refueling, and headed straight to the Kehje Sewen Forest. They arrived safely in the forest at around 10 am.

Three of our team members departed first to Kehje Sewen Forest

Three of our team members departed first to Kehje Sewen Forest

Last Day in Captivity

Back in Samboja Lestari, it was the last day in captivity for Emerson, Mona and Sarmi. Mona was the first to be sedated at 6 am. She was the first because she is infamous for being quite resistant to anesthetic. It would take sometime until the sedation took effect on her. The first attempt failed because Mona pulled the dart out immediately as it hit her. The second attempt, however, seemed to work.

Waiting for Mona to fall asleep

Waiting for Mona to fall asleep

While waiting for Mona to fall asleep, the technicians started the sedation process for the giant male, Emerson. Like Mona, it took two attempts to successfully sedate Emerson. Meanwhile, Mona still had not fallen asleep, thus the vet decided to give her an extra dose. As soon as she was asleep, she was immediately moved to her travel cage.

Sarmi was the last to be sedated. Despite her kiss-squeaking, protesting the presence of so many humans around her, she was finally sedated at 6.30 am. Meanwhile, it took 15 people to move and transfer Emerson to his transport cage because of his weight and size. Finally, all orangutans were safe inside their travel cages and they were all loaded onto a truck that would take them to Sepinggan Airport in Balikpapan.

It took 15 people to transfer Emerson to his travel cage

It took 15 people to transfer Emerson to his travel cage

Flight to Freedom

It was 7.30 am when the team and orangutans departed to Sepinggan Airport where the Premiair Grand Caravan aircraft was waiting. The orangutans would be accompanied by Vet Agnes and technician Ferdy to the new Uyang Lahai Airport in Miau Baru Village, a village located around 15-20 minutes from Muara Wahau.

We arrived at Sepinggan Airport at 8.30 am. Mechanics from Premiair were conducting the necessary final preparations for the flight. This flight would also carry the logistical supplies for the team at Camp 103 in the Kehje Sewen Forest and also the sling net. This sling net is a vital piece of equipment as these orangutans would be transported by a helicopter from Miau to Camp 103 using the sling load method. A representative of BCA Bank, one of our donors for this orangutan release event, also attended and witnessed the whole process at the airport.

Emerson’s travel cage barely fits into the airplane door

Emerson’s travel cage barely fits into the airplane door

After the airplane was ready, Mona, Sarmi and Emerson were unloaded from the truck and transferred onto the airplane.  And not long after, our three orangutan friends took off on their first leg of the journey to freedom. At Sepinggan Airport, there was a mixed feeling of relief, joy and sadness as we bid our goodbyes to beloved Emerson, Sarmi and Mona. It was a beautiful goodbye.

To Borneo’s Fertile Heart

Meanwhile at Uyang Lahai Airport, the Release Team was also on standby since morning. The helicopter that transported Ahmat, Monica and Vet Anin arrived back at Uyang Lahai at around 10.40 am. Twenty minutes later, the Grand Caravan aircraft also landed safely. Emerson, Sarmi and Mona were immediately unloaded.

Airplane carrying Emerson, Sarmi and Mona arriving at Uyang Lahai Airport

Airplane carrying Emerson, Sarmi and Mona arriving at Uyang Lahai Airport

The first orangutan to fly to the heart of Borneo’s rainforests was Emerson. He was going solo since the helicopter could only take him alone due to his enormous size and heavy weight. Sarmi and Mona had to wait at Uyang Lahai Airport for the next flight. After Emerson’s travel cage was secured within the sling load, the helicopter took off to the final destination, Kehje Sewen.

Emerson on sling load ready to take off

Emerson on sling load ready to take off

Emerson was joyfully welcomed by the Release Team in Kehje Sewen 45 minutes later. The helicopter then went back to Uyang Lahai to pick up the two orangutan ladies who patiently waited for their turn.

While waiting for Mona and Sarmi, the team in Kehje Sewen transported Emerson to the pre-designated release site in the Lembu River area, around 3.75 km from Camp 103. To get there, Emerson’s travel cage must be loaded onto a pickup truck and transported across the Lesik River, a large rapid-water river that lies behind our camp. Then the journey continued on foot. The team had to carry Emerson’s travel cage all the way to his release site.

Transporting Emerson across the Lesik River

Transporting Emerson across the Lesik River

Arriving at the release site, Emerson’s travel cage was not opened right away. Accompanied by a couple of technicians from Samboja Lestari, he had to wait for Sarmi and Mona. The ladies would be released first, then Emerson last. The rest of the team hurried back to the helipad at Camp 103 to welcome the two females.

Mona and Sarmi finally departed to the forest from Uyang Lahai at around 1.30 PM and arrived in Kehje Sewen at 2.15 PM. Like Emerson, they too were transported by a pickup truck across the river and carried by foot to the same release sites as Emerson’s. Three release points had been prepared and the moments of freedom were finally in sight.

Sarmi and Mona arriving in Kehje Sewen

Sarmi and Mona arriving in Kehje Sewen

Home Sweet Home

Mona was the first to be released. Technician Yadi from Samboja Lestari opened her travel cage and instead of immediately climbing the nearest tree, Mona decided to strike a pose first by her cage. Maybe she knew that we had planted cameras everywhere to take her photographs. It was comical. But soon enough, she started climbing, and climbing higher and higher. Mona was finally free!

Mona posing for a moment by her travel cage before climbing a tree

Mona posing for a moment by her travel cage before climbing a tree

Sarmi was next. RHOI Post-Release Monitoring (PRM) Coordinator, Wulan, opened the door to her travel cage. Unlike Mona, Sarmi didn’t waste any time. She chose a tree and climbed right away. Then she stopped at a nice sturdy branch in the canopy and she, too, posed for the camera!

Spotting Mona on a nearby tree, Sarmi decided to approach her long-time friend. She poked Mona on the elbow to ask her to play. But Mona, still tired from the effect of sedation and the long journey to the forest, looked a bit irritated and ignored Sarmi’s request to hang out. The drama in the forest has started.

Sarmi asking Mona to hang out with her

Sarmi asking Mona to hang out with her

Last but not least, Emerson’s travel cage was opened by Samboja Lestari’s Technician, Agus. The big guy did not look happy. He must have been very tired and grumpy at having to wait for Sarmi and Mona. So he was a bit angry seeing Agus approaching his cage. He probably thought he was going to be transported somewhere else again. He shook his cage forcefully and attempted to damage the locks of the cage.

Another technician, Sam, tried to divert his attention by waving a leafy branch at him. It worked. Agus successfully opened his cage and Emerson hurtled out to the nearest tree and quickly climbed it. He finally calmed down and rested on a branch. Looking down at us, he didn’t look so angry anymore. He looked happy. In fact, the latest report received from the PRM Team this afternoon said that Emerson had made his first long call just before dusk telling everyone in the forest that the big guy had arrived!

Emerson’s first moments of freedom

Emerson’s first moments of freedom

Emerson, Sarmi and Mona are settling into a new life in the forest. A life they deserve, a life of freedom. The Kehje Sewen Forest is their new home sweet home.

The first day has concluded successfully. The emotion of the entire team is indescribable. We are filled with joy for these magnificent three and tomorrow, six more orangutans will claim this beautiful forest as their home. Let’s hope for another day of great weather and smooth journey for Acong, Agus, Noel, Mayang, Inge and Siwie.

One of these six is our 100th orangutan to be released by the BOS Foundation since 2012. Find out who it is tomorrow!

SUPPORT THE ORANGUTAN RELEASE ACTIVITIES

AND HELP US SEND MORE ORANGUTANS BACK TO THEIR FREEDOM!

DONATE HERE:

http://www.orangutan.or.id/donate

Text by: The BOS Foundation and RHOI Communications Team

The 100th Orangutan! [Part 3]

“She was always special… A little princess with beautiful hair and red lips…” said Anta, a former veterinarian of the BOS Foundation who was on duty at the time this female orangutan arrived and was in charge of her health and welfare for the first few years of her stay at Samboja Lestari.

A copy of her medical record when she first arrived at Samboja Lestari.

A copy of her medical record when she first arrived at Samboja Lestari.

According to Vet Anta, she was a healthy orangutan but they were struggling to keep her alive because she didn’t seem to have enough will to live. And because she was “Miss Clean” and always played inside, she became the target of bullying by other orangutans in her group. The babysitters had to keep a close eye on her otherwise she would be bullied. So the problem was not physical, but psychological. The first thing to do was to build her self-confidence. And the Forest School successfully gave her that.

“That’s why I was delightfully surprised and so touched that she is now ready to be released!” Anta wrote excitedly on a text message sent to Vet Agus, Samboja Lestari’s current Program Manager. “She was one of the weakest. I’m so happy to learn that she is now a dominant female, intelligent and independent. Forest School does work!” Anta added enthusiastically.

Forest School does work, indeed. She graduated top of her class and was relocated to the Socialization Enclosure A with Noel, Agus, Acong and the rest of the orangutans who are considered ready to be released. And there she waited, killing time and boredom by taking advantage of all enrichment materials provided for her.

After graduating Forest School, she was placed at the Socialization Enclosure A.

After graduating Forest School, she was placed at the Socialization Enclosure A.

At the Socialization Enclosure, she was looked after by three Technicians – Yadi, Masino, and Imam. The three technicians also had a special memory about her. “Whenever she wanted some water to drink or to bathe, she threw things at us. Most of the time she threw coconut fibers at us to let us know she was thirsty or wanted a shower,” they recalled, laughing at the memory.

While Vet Agus and Vet Agnes both loved to tease her. They would ask her to show her teeth and she would press her face on the enclosure bars and purse her lips, making a duck face at them.

When teased, she makes cute duck faces at you!

When teased, she makes cute duck faces at you!

She really is a special orangutan. Letting her go into the wild is bittersweet for the team at Samboja Lestari. But letting her go, they must. It is time. She no longer has to wait, killing time and boredom by playing with enrichment tools, throwing things at technicians, and making duck faces at veterinarians. She is going home!

She will be the 100th ORANGUTAN to return to the forest!

Who is she?

Keep watching this space (and our Facebook pages and Twitters) to find out the answer soon!

SUPPORT THE 100th ORANGUTAN

BY DONATING HERE:

http://orangutan.or.id/donate/

[PRESS RELEASE] 100 Orangutans Have Been Released by the BOS Foundation

Dedicated to the commemmoration of World Habitat Day on October 7, 2013, the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation East Kalimantan Orangutan Reintroduction Center in Samboja Lestari releases 9 orangutans to their natural habitat. This release marks the 100th orangutan reintroduction by the BOS Foundation back into the wild.

Samboja Lestari, East Kalimantan, October 13, 2013. Since February 2012, the BOS Foundation have released 91 orangutans; 82 orangutans from their rehabilitation center in Nyaru Menteng, Central Kalimantan, and 9 orangutans from their rehabilitation center in Samboja Lestari, East Kalimantan. On October 13-14, 2013, the BOS Foundation release 9 more orangutans from Samboja Lestari to their natural habitat in commemmoration of World Habitat Day 2013, bringing the total released orangutans since 2012 to 100 individuals.

foto untuk press release

Nine orangutans depart from the BOS Foundation East Kalimantan Orangutan Reintroduction Center in Samboja Lestari to designated release points in the Kehje Sewen Forest in East Kutai and Kutai Kertanegara Regencies. These orangutans comprise 6 females and 3 males, of whom the profiles can be read in more detail in the attached file entitled Orangutan Release Candidate Profiles.

The nine orangutans depart from East Kalimantan Orangutan Reintroduction Program in Samboja Lestari to Sepinggan Airport, Balikpapan. From Sepinggan Airport, they are transported to Uyang Lahai Airport, in Miau Baru Village, Sub-District of Kumbeang, Kutai Timur Regency. From Uyang Lahai towards Kehje Sewen, the orangutans are transported by a helicopter through several flight groups. On the first day, October 13 2013, three individuals are transported and the remaining six will be flown on the next day.

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 is desperately needed to release rehabilitated orangutans from the BOS Foundation Orangutan Reintroduction Center at Samboja Lestari in East Kalimantan.

The orangutan release event which also coincides with the 14th anniversary of Kutai Timur Regency involves the collaboration between the BOS Foundation and all stakeholders, including the East Kalimantan Provincial Government, East Kutai and Kutai Kertanegara Regency Governments, East Kalimantan Conservation and Natural Resources Authority, and the people of East Kutai and Kutai Kertanegara. The BOS Foundation would also like to convey their gratitude for the moral, financial and logistical support from private sectors such as BCA Bank, BNI Bank, Salim Ivomas, and First State Investment, as well as individual donors, partner organizations such as BOS Australia and BOS Switzerland and other conservation organizations across the globe who are concerned with orangutan conservation in Indonesia.

The Head of the East Kalimantan Conservation and Natural Resources Authority, Tandya Tjahjana said, “The orangutan is a species protected by national and international law. Unfortunately their population is decreasing due to many factors, including forest clearance. This has cost orangutans their natural habitat and triggered conflict with humans. In return, often wild orangutans are caught to be kept as pets, sold, or even killed because they are considered pests.”

“The effort to conserve orangutans in their natural habitat is not easy. Cooperation and support are needed from the government, the business sector, and the communities. Orangutan release event from the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Reintroduction Program to the Kehje Sewen forest is one of the efforts taking place in order to maintain orangutan populations in the wild. It is in accordance with the government’s plan to release all the displaced orangutans to their habitat by 2015,” he added.

Successful orangutan reintroduction programs need to continue in order to return displaced orangutans back to natural habitat and achieve the target stated in the Indonesian Orangutan Conservation Strategy and Action Plan 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 in rehabilitation centers should be released by 2015, and this has been validated by all levels of government, including the provincial and regency levels.

Tandya Tjahjana further said, “The cooperation between the East Kalimantan Conservation and Natural Resources Authority with the BOS Foundation has been established since 1991. As the result, 18 Eastern Kalimantan orangutans have been release since April 2012 and another 221 orangutans are still undergoing rehabilitation program.”

Dr. Ir. Jamartin Sihite, the CEO of the BOS Foundation stated, “The private sector, especially those who gain profit from the natural resources and have caused the displacement of orangutans from their natural habitat, should play a more active role in terms of living up to their responsibilities. Most companies in Indonesia have taken for granted the practice of sustainable natural resources management and Best Management Practices, and shifted this responsibility to other parties. Logically, a negative impact from a business practice should be the responsibility of the business practicioners. This must change and the change must be encouraged and monitored by the government through strict regulations.”

drh. Agus Irwanto, Acting Manager of the BOS Foundation Samboja Lestari Program also stated, “Currently, the BOS Foundation is taking care of 200 orangutans in Samboja Lestari. With this release of 9 orangutans to their natural habitat, we are optimistic that more releases will take place in the future. Undeniably this release is only possible with the support from many parties. Our main challenge at the moment is the lack of available suitable and safe forest which can serve as orangutan release locations. In the near future the Kehje Sewen will reach it’s maximum carrying capacity. Therefore, to achieve the target stated in the national Action Plan, we need the full support of the government and their apparatus to protect orangutan habitat.”

Orangutan conservation efforts will be futile without any consolidated action to conserve the forest. Undoubtedly, the biggest challenge is to find suitable forests which serve as orangutan habitat. Dedicated to the World Habitat Day 2013, the release of 9 orangutans is an appeal to all the stakeholders to make forest conservation a reality, for the future of both orangutans and our sustainable welfare.

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Media Contact:

Nurwidiyana Markhumawati
Samboja Lestari Database Officer
Email: diyan_rplcrew@yahoo.co.id

Paulina L. Ela
Communications Specialist
Email: pauline@orangutan.or.id

The 100th Orangutan! [Part 2]

She was so beautiful and so clean. She didn’t want to be dirty. She preferred to play inside, on porcelain floor, instead of rolling on the ground outside with her friends. Little Miss Clean.” – Wiwik Astutik, Samboja Lestari Coordinator of Animal Welfare and Forest School 3.

That was a long time ago, back in 2002, but Wiwik remembers it like it was yesterday. Wiwik just started working for the BOS Foundation when this little female orangutan arrived at Samboja Lestari. Her beauty was striking with her dark brown hair framing her face perfectly. But having been kept as a pet for over 3 years since she was only 6 months old (her previous owner bought her in a black market) had clearly affected her behavior. She was tame and shy and unusually clean.

She hated the outdoors and preferred to stay inside the nursery where the floor was always clean. Whenever she got some dirt or dust on her hair, she freaked out flicking the dirt or dust off her hair right away like a supermodel. This behavior had earned her the nickname the “Little Miss Clean” and consequently, she didn’t have many friends as her peers, of course, much preferred to play outside and get all dirty.

orangutan ke-100_3

Teaching her to be wild again was definitely a huge challenge. The Little Miss Clean must join Forest School where she was encouraged to climb trees, make nests, find and eat forest food, stay outside, and yes, get all dirty. She had to learn to be a true orangutan otherwise she would never have a chance of freedom.

“She never really liked human males,” Syahrul, a Technician at Samboja Lestari and also one of her very first teachers at Forest School, recalls. “So she was closer to Wiwik than to me. But I persisted and patiently encouraged her to learn everything she needed to know about life in the forest. And over time, she thrived and even became one of the best students at our Forest School!”

That was a long time ago. With a lot of love, support and encouragement from Wiwik, Syahrul and the entire Samboja Lestari team, she displayed outstanding development. She loved swinging in the trees with her friends. She enjoyed foraging for wild food and even showed a natural talent for finding and choosing the most delicious ones. She also became very skillful at building nests.

Now at the age of 15 years old, she is more beautiful than ever but she is no longer the little Miss Clean. And freedom… is waiting around the corner.

She will be the 100th ORANGUTAN to return to the forest!

Who is she?

Keep watching this space (and our Facebook pages and Twitters) to find out the answer soon!

SUPPORT THE 100th ORANGUTAN

BY DONATING HERE:

http://orangutan.or.id/donate/

The 100th Orangutan!

Since February 2012, the BOS Foundation has released 91 orangutans, i.e. 82 orangutans from Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Reintroduction Program and 9 orangutans from Samboja Lestari Orangutan Reintroduction Program. On October 12-14, the BOS Foundation will again release 9 more orangutans from Samboja Lestari, bringing the total number of released orangutans since 2012 to 100!

orangutan ke-100_2

This little girl was only around 3-4 years old when she was confiscated back in 2002 by the East Kalimantan Conservation and Natural Resources Authority (BKSDA) from a resident of Bontang who had kept her for around 3 years. Since then she has been cared for at our Samboja Lestari Orangutan Reintroduction Center.

This photo was taken a year after she arrived at Samboja Lestari, around the time when she first joined Forest School.

The little girl is not so little anymore. She has graduated Forest School with flying colors and has grown into a dominant, smart and independent female teenager. She is also crowned as the most beautiful orangutan in Samboja Lestari.

She is now preparing for the most challenging journey of her life – a journey to her rightful home where the trees are gloriously thick and the air and water are deliciously clean, the Kehje Sewen Forest in East Kalimantan managed by the Indonesian Orangutan Habitat Restoration (RHOI).

And she will be the 100th ORANGUTAN to return to the forest!

Who is she?

Keep watching this space (and our Facebook pages and Twitters) to find out the answer soon!

SUPPORT THE 100th ORANGUTAN

BY DONATING HERE:

http://orangutan.or.id/donate/

Upcoming Release Areas

After successfully releasing nine orangutans in Kehje Sewen from 2012 to mid 2013, the BOS Foundation will release another nine orangutans from Samboja Lestari to their natural habitat, the Kehje Sewen Forest on October 13 and 14, 2013.

Those nine orangutans are Emerson, Sarmi, Mona, Noel, Siwie, Inge, Mayang, Agus, and Acong. They will be released in two different areas. Emerson, Sarmi and Mona will be released in the south of Lembu River while Noel, Siwie, Inge, Mayang, Agus and Acong will be released in Gunung Belah.

Emerson and two females Sarmi and Mona are the big orangutans in this group. They will be purposedly released in the south of Lembu River, separated from Leo, another big adult male orangutan who was released last April in the north side of Lembu River. This plan is designed to avoid fights between Emerson and Leo over territory, also for safety reasons for the monitoring team. The two areas will be separated by a deep and rapid river as a natural boundary, so the two big guys will not encounter each other.

Lokasi Release Sungai Lembu

Release area at Lembu River

Steep Path to Release Location_Lembu

Steep path to Lembu River

While the other six will be released in Gunung Belah because based on the monitoring activities that have been done, the orangutans who were previously released in this area (Mail and friends) have left Gunung Belah and each has established their own territories. Hence it is safe to release Noel and friends in this area.

Release Location_Gn Belah

Release area in Gunung Belah

Final preparation is now being completed, both at the Headquarters and on the field. It’s just two days to the release day. Let’s hope this release operation will be another success just like the previous ones. 

Samboja Lestari Release Candidate Profiles

In the near future, orangutan population in Kehje Sewen forest will increase. There are at least 9 orangutans from Orangutan Reintroduction Center at Samboja Lestari who will be reintroduced into the forest on October 13 and 14, 2013. They are Emerson, Sarmi, Mona, Noel, Siwie, Inge, Mayang, Agus, and Acong. Here are their profiles. 

1. Emerson

Emerson

Emerson

Emerson was already a young adult of around 15 years old when he was rescued in Sangatta and taken to Samboja Lestari on February 11, 2001. Due to his size as well as our capacity in Samboja Lestari, which at that time had reached its maximum, Emerson was placed in an individual enclosure.

Although he demonstrates a healthy dislike towards humans, during his years at Samboja Lestari, Emerson has turned out to be very gentle towards female orangutans. He is also kind to other orangutans in general and was hence moved to a pre-released island. The island was already occupied by Leo and “his gang” (Leo was released into the Kehje Sewen forest, in April 2013), and so we observed the group closely for quite some time as a precaution. But Leo welcomed Emerson and was actually quite intrigued by this giant new male with big striking cheek-pads. Emerson responded coolly but was clearly glad that his presence was not challenged. Although the two never become best buddies, they have never been aggressive towards each other. While Leo courts Juminten, Emerson has developed a close relationship with Sarmi. Life is good on the island. Now, 26 year-old Emerson is preparing for his final journey. Emerson is finally returning to his rightful home!

2. Sarmi

Sarmi

Sarmi

A young female orangutan of 4-5 years old was rescued near a coal mine in Sangatta. That year, 1998, many coal mining companies aggressively expanded their operations in the area resulting in overwhelming habitat loss for many wild animals, including orangutans. On a positive note though, some companies did take responsibility for their actions by extensively funding and facilitating rescue activities. They were also actively involved in many awareness-building programs in the area.

Named Sarmi, this young female orangutan was taken to Samboja Lestari on October 6, 1998. With Mona and many other orangutans rescued during that period, Sarmi grew up in a socialization enclosure until 2010, when she was moved to Island 6, a pre-release island at Samboja Lestari, along with four other females, two mother-child pairs and an orphaned baby male orangutan named Saprol. By that time, Sarmi already had a young daughter, Sani who was born in 2005. Unexpectedly, Sarmi adopted Saprol! She raised and cared for him as her own son and as a brother to her daughter Sani. Earlier this year, we introduced Sarmi to Emerson, a huge and gorgeous male and also one of our current release candidates. The two bonded quickly and have since developed a wonderful relationship. We can’t wait to see these two orangutans take their relationship to a new level when they are both released in the forest!

3. Mona

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Mona

Little Mona was 4-5 years old when she first came to Samboja Lestari on September 28, 1997. Rescued in Tenggarong, Mona was such a beautiful orangutan with round face and dark maroon hair typical of East Bornean Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus morio). Growing up with friends of the same age in a socialization enclosure, Mona finally earned a place on a pre-release island in 2010, where she quickly learned forest skills from Leo as well as from other older orangutans. She paid special attention to Leo especially when he was making a nest and seemed to make a mental note of the types of branches and leaves Leo used to make his nest. Pretty soon, Mona could build a nest as sturdy and comfy as Leo’s!

She is obviously a very smart orangutan. She has also steadily demonstrated her ability to climb, swing and identify yummy forest foods. Although on the island Mona is at the bottom of the hierarchy, big brother role model Leo is quite fond of her and often lets her build her nest in the same tree as his. The other females are also very tolerant with Mona and love to play with her. Only Juminten keeps her distance from Mona obviously to maintain her dominant position. Even so, Juminten too is never aggressive towards Mona showing that Mona is a sociable and likeable orangutan. Beautiful Mona has become an independent adult and now at 20 years old, Mona is more than ready to be reintroduced back into the wild.

4. Noel

low Noel - Copy

Noel

Noel is a male orangutan who came from Sangatta.  When he first arrived at Samboja Lestari on October 4, 2002, he was only around 1-2 years old.  In the Forest School, Noel was a quick learner. He was skilful in recognising natural foods and foraging, and also in building nests. He loved to explore the forest and had an amazing ability of escaping from his babysitters’ watch whenever he liked.

Now approximately 13 years old and weighing 35 kg, Noel is ready to explore Kehje Sewen forest, his soon to be his new forever home.

5. Siwie

Siwie

Siwie

Siwie was handed over to Samboja Lestari by KRUS (Mulawarman University Botanical Garden in Samarinda) on March 16, 2006.  Siwie is an old friend of Abbie’s who was also previously located at KRUS.  Abbie was released into the Kehje Sewen forest, in May 2012 and soon Siwie will join her!

Siwie is an independent female orangutan and skilful in recognising natural foods. She has maintained much of her wild behaviour and was therefore able to complete her rehabilitation process in a relatively short time  compared to other orangutans. Despite her wild nature, she is not aggressive towards her friends and is currently good friends with Noel and Inge who are also cared for in Samboja Lestari.

Siwie is now 13 years old and weighs 30 kg.  Soon, Siwie will return to her natural habitat in Kehje Sewen with her best friends.  Perhaps, she will also have a reunion with her old friend Abbie.

6. Inge

Inge

Inge

Inge was kept as a pet by a resident of Bontang for 3.5 years, She was bought from an illegal pet trader for 30,000 rupiah when she was only 6 months old. She was then handed over to Samboja Lestari on March 3, 2002 when she was around 3-4 years old.

Inge graduated from the Forest School with outstanding development. She is very skilful in choosing her food and building nests. While living in the Socialisation Complex and being prepared as a release candidate, Inge is a dominant orangutan. She is also crowned as the most beautiful orangutan there thanks to her beautiful face and hair.

Inge is now around 15 years old and weighs 37 kg. Soon she will have her freedom in the lush Kehje Sewen forest.

7. Mayang

Mayang

Mayang

Mayang arrived in Samboja Lestari on March 20, 2007, handed over by the Banjar Baru, South Kalimantan Conservation and Natural Resources Authority. She was 9-10 years old.

When she first arrived in Samboja Lestari, Mayang was very stressed and struggled to settle in. Her stomach was suffering from circular wounds from the chain which had  bound her, set by her owner.

Mayang is now around 16 years old and weighs 46 kg. After 6 years of progressing through the rehabilitation process in Samboja Lestari, Mayang has  developed her forest skills, including nest building and identifying natural foods. In Samboja Lestari, she is good friends with Cici. Together they love to spend their time in the trees. Soon these two best friends will live amongst the dense forest of Kehje Sewen, their new home.

8. Agus

Agus

Agus

Agus arrived in Samboja Lestari on February 3, 2003 when he was only 3-4 years old. He was delivered by his former owner, a resident of Tenggarong.

A graduate of Forest School with outstanding results, Agus’s forest survival skills are beyond any doubt. Once, Agus ran away from the rehabilitation complex and lived in the forest of Samboja Lestari for months. Since that time, Agus was retrieved and placed in the Socialisation Complex to be prepared as a release candidate.

Now he is 14 years old and weighs 56 kg, he can’t wait to explore the canopy of the Kehje Sewen forest.

9. Acong

Acong

Acong

Acong arrived in Samboja Lestari on Novermber 1, 1998 when she was only about 8-9 months old.

Now, she is 15 years old and weighs 41 kg, and has graduated from the Forest School and the pre-release island. In the Forest School, she was very close to her babysitter. Even so, she was very skilful in climbing trees. With her two best friends Cici and Mayang, Acong spent a lot of time in the trees.

Acong now lives within pre-release quarantine enclosure, preparing to go back to the forest.  There, she is the second most dominant female orangutan after Cici.  Soon, along with her two best friends, Acong will live and play in the real forest – Kehje Sewen.