Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOS) with PT. Sawit Sumbermas Sarana (SSMS) Tbk., Has prepared three orangutans to be moved to a forested island reserve in the Salat Island Cluster, Pulang Pisau Regency, Central Kalimantan. This is the first removal effort since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic last year. The implementation of the transfer will use a special, strict protocol to prevent transmission of the COVID-19 virus to both humans and orangutans.
Badak Kecil Island in the Salat Island Cluster is used as a sanctuary for healthy orangutans but is considered unable to live in the forest, and with the arrival of 3 new orangutans, the island's population is 10 individuals.
SSMS together with the BOS Foundation will relocate 3 orangutans who have been undergoing rehabilitation at the Orangutan Rehabilitation Center in Nyaru Menteng to Badak Kecil Island, a forested sanctuary in the Salat Island Cluster, Pulang Pisau Regency, Central Kalimantan.
The three orangutans moved were all females whose ages ranged from 13-17 years. They are Dilla, Mawas, and Jeliva, who have spent years undergoing the rehabilitation process at Nyaru Menteng but are considered unsuccessful in developing the natural skills and behaviors needed to live in the wild. On the other hand, their good health condition makes them considered ready to live in an environment similar to the natural habitat on the island sanctuary.
The team from Nyaru Menteng is fully aware that trying to relocate in the midst of a pandemic like this is a different mission than usual. The risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus to both staff and orangutans is always lurking. Therefore, the BOS Foundation has prepared a protocol for implementing activities specially formulated for the transfer of orangutans outside the rehabilitation center, including a COVID-19 test for orangutans during the quarantine period before moving.
HANDI NASOKA, S.HUT., Plt. The head of the Central Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) stated that orangutan and habitat conservation activities must continue, “We are aware that this pandemic condition makes it difficult for friends to carry out orangutan rescue and rehabilitation activities. However, conservation efforts must continue, and therefore we really appreciate the efforts of friends from the BOS Foundation who have prepared a special protocol to continue operations under pandemic conditions like this. I am sure that moving orangutans to Badak Kecil Island in Salat will go smoothly. ”
The Salat Island cluster itself is an area of ??more than 2,000 hectares located in the Kahayan River delta and is jointly managed by SSMS and the BOS Foundation to become an orangutan conservation area. Badak Kecil Island, covering an area of ??104 hectares, is part of a cluster of islands that is used specifically as a sanctuary for orangutans who are physically healthy, but without sufficient natural skills and behavior to be released into the forest.
VALLAUTHAN SUBRAMINAM, President Director of PT Sawit Sumbermas Sarana Tbk., Said, “We have been working very closely with the BOS Foundation to support efforts to conserve orangutans and their habitat, especially in the management of sanctuary islands and pre-release as part of their rehabilitation process. In a fairly volatile business condition, we continue to strive for our commitment to the balance of environmental sustainability and living things. We believe, even in the midst of a pandemic like today, we can carry out conservation activities for orangutans and their habitat. "
To ensure the smooth transfer of orangutans to Badak Kecil Island, we together with the BOS Foundation have compiled a number of new protocols that contain various measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 corona virus both for staff, people living in areas where the group passes, and especially, for orangutans. This protocol covers the use of masks and protective equipment, regular disinfection efforts, pre-departure and post-return staff health tests, quarantine periods, and much more.
DR. IR. JAMARTIN SIHITE, CEO of the BOS Foundation, explained, “We at the BOS Foundation will always place orangutans in a safe condition and protected from exposure to any disease that endangers their chance to live freely and wild in the forest. We strive to ensure that every orangutan we care for at the rehabilitation center is always healthy and goes through all stages of the rehabilitation process on time. But since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out last year, we have had to cancel all release and transfer activities, to study conditions and improve all our work protocols so that the safety of staff and animals is always guaranteed, both in rehabilitation centers and in release forests. Now, we have equipped ourselves with a number of new protocols to ensure the migration process runs smoothly. We also test staff regularly and can "We have confirmed that the staff and orangutans we send outside the rehabilitation center are safe from the SARS-CoV-2 virus and other diseases."
After this transfer, the total number of orangutans on Badak Kecil Island will be 10 individuals. Here they have the opportunity to live in an environment similar to a natural forest, but with the security provided by a team of technicians and veterinarians on duty.
The successful cooperation in using Salat Island as a pre-release habitat for rehabilitated orangutans and asylum for orangutans that cannot be released into natural forests is inseparable from the participation of a number of stakeholders such as the Central Kalimantan Provincial Government, Pulang Pisau Regency Government, the Conservation Center for Resources. Alam (BKSDA) Central Kalimantan, communities in Jabiren Raya District and the BOS Foundation. The BOS Foundation is grateful for the support of SSMS and global partners who have helped fund this very important initiative.
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