SSMS and BOS Foundation Relocated Eight Orangutans to Badak Besar Pre-release Island


A few days ago, the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOS) with PT. Sawit Sumbermas Sarana (SSMS) Tbk., Moved three orangutans to an island sanctuary in the Salat Island Cluster, Pulang Pisau Regency, Central Kalimantan. Our cooperation to relocating the eight orangutans that seem to have been released into natural forests, to the pre-release island of Badak Besar. Like previous transfers, we are again implementing strict special health protocols to prevent transmission of the COVID-19 virus to both humans and orangutans.


Badak Besar Island in the Salat Island Cluster is used as a pre-release island for orangutans who have completed the Forest School stage and are able and fit to continue the rehabilitation process, before finally being released to a forest release site.


SSMS with the BOS Foundation will relocate 8 orangutans who have completed their rehabilitation period at the Forest School at the Orangutan Rehabilitation Center in Nyaru Menteng to Badak Besar Island, to continue the final process of their rehabilitation to Badak Besar, an island asylum and an area of ??approximately 123 hectares in Salat Island area, Pulang Pisau Regency, Central Kalimantan.


The pre-release process is the final stage of a long rehabilitation process that can last 8 years or more. On pre-release islands, orangutans will live in wild conditions, full competition, and orangutans must live completely independently. Technicians who come from afar and record progress, although if needed only, a team of technicians and veterinarians are ready to intervene.


Eight orangutans will be transferred from 5 males and 3 females, with an age range of 7 to 14 years. Based on strict travel SOPs, they were transferred on 2 separate trips, on April 7 and 9.


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 specifically designed for the transfer of orangutans outside the rehabilitation center, including a COVID-19 test for orangutans before the transfer is carried out.


Dr. Ir. JAMARTIN SIHITE, MSc., CEO of the BOS Foundation stated that in a pandemic situation, at the BOSF always prioritize the welfare conditions of orangutans from the potential exposure to dangerous diseases, and can see their opportunity to live freely and liars in the forest. We also to make efforts to adapt to the current pandemic conditions. We will not stop working for orangutan conservation. Therefore, we apply a very strict protocol and we ensure that all teams and orangutans who leave Nyaru Menteng to the island or forest of the release site are free from COVID-19 and other diseases. 


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 Besar Island, covering an area of ??123 hectares, is one part of this cluster of islands which is used specifically as a pre-release island for orangutans who have completed the Forest School stage and are ready to move on to the next stage.


VALLAUTHAN SUBRAMINAM, President Director of PT Sawit Sumbermas Sarana Tbk. said, we have realized this effort in the form of management and development of the Salat Island as a pre-release and rehabilitation process for orangutans. Despite the fluctuation in the economy due to the global pandemic, we fully committed to supporting efforts to conserve Asia's only great apes and their natural environment. We hope that this form of cooperation can be inspire the public about the importance of orangutan conservation efforts, to support conserve orangutans and their habitat in Central Kalimantan. "


To ensure the smooth transfer of orangutans to Badak Besar Island, together we have implemented several new protocols containing various measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 corona virus both for staff, people who live in areas where the group passes, and especially, for orangutans. This protocol covers the use of masks and protective gear, regular disinfection efforts, pre-departure and post-return staff health tests, quarantine periods, and much more.


After this transfer, the total number of orangutans on Badak Besar Island will be 31 individuals. Here they have the opportunity to live in an environment similar to a forest. A natural competition, with natural competition but regular observations made by our technical team of island. Those who are the best, will have the opportunity to be released after collecting observations for a period of one to two years.


The successful use of Salat Island as a pre-release habitat for rehabilitated orangutans is inseparable from the participation of a number of stakeholders such as the Central Kalimantan Provincial Government, Pulang Pisau Regency Government, Central Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA), communities in Jabiren Raya District. and the BOS Foundation. The BOS Foundation is grateful for the support of PT. Sawit Sumbermas Sarana Tbk. and the global partners who have helped fund this very important initiative.