Jakarta. Twelve orphaned Bornean orangutans – four males and eight females – are being reintroduced into the wild at Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park in Central Kalimantan's Katingan district this week.
The move comes after the completion of a rehabilitation process at the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) in the province.
Two of the orphans, named Nanga and Sukarama, were part of a group of 48 orangutans that were smuggled to Thailand. They were placed in the foundation's care following their repatriation in 2006.
There are currently 71 individuals in the park after the orphans were reintroduced, the foundation said.
BOSF chief executive Jamartin Sihite explained that the rehabilitation of orphaned orangutans is a long and complicated process.
"It took 11 years of rehabilitation to return Nanga and Sukarama to the wild," he said in a statement on Thursday (09/11).
Jamartin urged the relevant stakeholders to make contributions, including funding or other assistance, to support the foundation's efforts to rehabilitate and reintroduce captured orangutans into the wild.
"We are proud to have a role in returning hundreds of orangutans back to their habitat. But we need your help. Let's work together to preserve the remaining forests for orangutans, because sustainable and protected forests are important for the quality of human life," he said.
Meanwhile, Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park head Heru Raharjo said his team regularly conducts patrols with the BOSF to ensure orangutans in the conservation areas are safe from hunters.
"We make sure no hunters or irresponsible people exploit the region's natural resources and endanger the lives of orangutans, or other wildlife in the national park," Heru said.
Rosenda Chandra Kasih, coordinator of USAID Lestari, a conservation project run by the United States Agency for International Development in Central Kalimantan, said they are committed to supporting the BOSF's efforts.
She also called for better management of the national park to ensure the conservation of wildlife and their habitats.
"USAID Lestari highly appreciates the cooperation between all stakeholders in the region. We fully support all efforts to create new populations of wild orangutans in the national park for the purpose of conservation," Rosenda said.
Orangutans are native to the forests of Indonesia and Malaysia, but their populations have been in steady decline in recent years due to rampant deforestation.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature has categorized the Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) as critically endangered.
"We all certainly do not want them to become extinct. It is our duty to prevent that," Rosenda said.