Mission: Accelerating the release of Bornean orangutans from ex-situ to in-situ locations; Encouraging the protection of Bornean orangutans and their habitat; Increasing the empowerment of communities surrounding orangutan habitat; Supporting research and education activities for the conservation of Bornean orangutans and their habitat; Promoting the participation of and partnership with all stakeholders; Strengthening institutional capacity.
Species: Bornean orangutan
Amount donated: £10,000 was used to help fund the release of four orangutans back into their natural habitat.
Background: BOS works to ensure the survival of the orangutan. Wild orangutans displaced by the conversion of forest habitat to oil-palm plantations are at great risk of death either by starving or through human/wildlife conflict. Over 400 wild orangutans have been rescued by the BOS Nyaru Menteng project; 115 have been reintroduced to a safe forest adjacent to the Mawas reserve, but this area is now at capacity. In order to continue to rescue orangutans, those that are now resident in the project need to be translocated to the Betikap valley region as soon as possible, and wild orangutans rescued in the future also need to be quickly translocated.
Since 2004, Nyaru Menteng has rescued hundreds of orangutans and many other animals such as gibbons and bears from the oil-palm plantations. Recently, Nyaru Menteng searched and surveyed several areas which could have potential for release of the rescued wild orangutans. They found the Betikap valley, in the remote northern region of Central Kalimantan. The area fulfils all the criteria set not only by the government, but also by the scientific community of orangutan experts for translocation.
Achievements: Action for the Wild's sponsored orangutans are Mama Abut and her baby Abut, who featured in BBC1's Orangutan Diary programme, a 12-14 year old female called Meadows and a male called Bagrong, who has giant cheek pads. In April 2007, transit cages and a helicopter were used to conduct relocations. On the 4th April 2007, the first 8 adults and 4 of their offspring were taken up to forest transit cages by plane. The following day, an additional 16 adults and 8 infants were also taken up to the cages. From the 7th until the 18th April, all 36 orangutans were brought to forest sites in a helicopter two at a time, and were released along the Busang River. They were mainly released at the mouth of small rivers so they had two rivers to use for navigating their new home. Food supply is also usually higher along the rivers and by releasing them here they were given a better start in this new unfamiliar place.
Our sponsored individuals were released into the Barito Ulu research area, which is a 900 ha large valley encatchment. Here extensive gibbon research and phenology plots have been logged since the early nineties and the area has a complete transect system used for monitoring the orangutans. Once spotted our orangutans are followed for 10 consecutive days from early morning until they make their nests late afternoon in order to monitor their well-being.
Future objectives: In the future, BOS aims to release many more rehabilitated orphans and wild orangutans back into the wild.