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The BOS Foundation has once again conducted back-to-back orangutan releases, one in Central Kalimantan and one in East Kalimantan. Eight orangutans were moved during the first trip from the Nyaru Menteng Rehabilitation Centre to the release location in the Bukit Batikap Protection Forest.  The second journey saw the release of four orangutans from the Samboja Lestari Rehabilitation Centre to the release site in the Kehje Sewen Ecosystem Restoration Concession Forest.

The BOS Foundation had previously used a similar release strategy in February 2021. Since the release sites are in very remote locations, it was decided to fly the orangutans there by helicopter to maximise efficiency and minimise the stress for the orangutans. The orangutan cages were first transported from the rehabilitation centres to the helicopter staging locations by car. They were then loaded into a sling load beneath the helicopter and flown to the selected drop points. Following the landing, the orangutans made the final leg of the journey by boat to their release points.

(Photo Credit: BOSF)

Two of the twelve orangutans freed this time, Juki and Batola, had already been released into the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park. Unfortunately, the home ranges these two males ended up establishing, heavily overlapped with human settlements and they were frequently coming into conflict with the local communities. As a result, they were relocated to the Bukit Batikap Protection Forest region where we hope the more remote location will allow for them to thrive.

Another newly freed orangutan, Gami, is a 20-year-old semi-wild orangutan who was rescued from conflict with humans in 2021. Gami was eventually sent to the Samboja Lestari Rehabilitation Centre where he has been waiting patiently for two years for his release into the Kehje Sewen Forest of East Kalimantan.

Cici had been considered for release back in 2013, but genetic testing during the pre-release medical evaluation revealed that she belonged to the Central Kalimantan subspecies (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii) rather than the East Kalimantan subspecies (Pongo pygmaeus morio). It was then decided to delay her release so that she could first be relocated to her home range in Central Kalimantan.  After a cross-province trip and a decade of waiting, it was finally time for her moment of freedom! Cici was finally ready to be released along with seven other orangutans into the Bukit Batikap Protection Forest of Central Kalimantan.

Without immense support from many parties, including the Indonesian government, local communities, the commercial sector, Heli SGI, and international partners and supporters, the success of these releases would not have been possible. Our appreciation for their continuous support and participation is without limits. 

Text by: Communication Team, BOS Headquarters, Bogor, West Java

Will you help us rescue, rehabilitate and release orangutans back to freedom? Thank you!

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