600 Orangutan Released

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Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation will release 600 orangutans into Central Kalimantan forest in 2012. Coordinator of BOS Foundation, Prof Dr Bungaran Saragih, said here on Monday that the last time BOS released orangutans into the wild was nine years ago, due to a lack of safe forest area for their habitat.

In the past, he noted, it was believed that only NGOs could save orangutans. Now, it has been realized that NGOs alone cannot save orangutans, added Saragih.
NGOs need the cooperation of the government and the private sector to protect orangutans.

For the first time, Saragih symbolically handed over 40 orangutans to Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan. The primates are now ready to be returned to the Bukit Batingkap protected forest in Murung Raya, Central Kalimantan.

Saragih said the business factor is also crucial because it helps feed, rehabilitate and cure orangutans. "Therefore, BOS establishes cooperation with the business sector to help provide medical treatment for orangutans. We also need the assistance of the governor and deputy governor of Central Kalimantan,
because cooperation between NGOs and the government is very important."

NGOs should also work closely with the local community because orangutans finally exist amid the community, he added. All orangutans living in rehabilitation centers should be released back to their habitats by 2015, at the latest.

After releasing four orangutans on February 27, BOS will again return 12 orangutans to their habitat in late March 2012. The plan to release orangutans, however, must be supported by providing adequate forest area for their habitat, Saragih said.

Minister Hasan stated, when symbolically releasing the primates at Tjilik Riwut airport here on Monday, that the forestry ministry remains committed to preserving and allocating forest area for restoring the ecosystem, including habitat for orangutans.

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