Palangka Raya, 29 September 2018 – Two adult orangutans, Sisil and Clara, returned to their natural habitat in Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park (TNBBBR) after completing the pre-release rehabilitation step at Salat Island.
“The graduation of these orangutans is a milestone of Salat Island program and our long-term mission to return orangutans to the wild,” said Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) CEO Jamartin Sihite. “This achievement serves as proof that when stakeholders come together, we can do amazing things, including the conservation of critically endangered species.”
Salat Island is an orangutan rehabilitation pre-release area co-managed by PT Sawit Sumbermas Sarana Tbk (SSMS) and BOSF. It was designed to solve overcrowding problem at BOSF rehabilitation facilities by expediting the rehabilitation process of orangutans.
The two Salat Island graduates that were released on 28 September 2018 in TNBBR comprise Sisil, a 13 years old orangutan, and Clara, a 12 years old orangutan. When Clara was still in Salat Island, Clara gave birth to Clarita, now one year old, and both had been released together in TNBBR. All of them were released after a 10-hour journey across land and water, accompanied by BOSF technicians and SSMS officers.
“Orangutan rehabilitation remains a top priority for SSMS as Borneo orangutans are among the critically endangered, with only 78,500 orangutans across species remaining in the wild,” said SSMS CEO Vallauthan Subraminam. “SSMS worked with local communities, government, and BOSF to help address factors that pushed orangutan displacement, including strengthening sustainability standards throughout its operation and involving the local communities in conservation program around its concession areas.”
Shortly before the release, SSMS and BOSF hosted representatives of FONAP, a German forum for sustainable palm oil, in a visit to Salat Island. During the visit, the delegation hailed partnership in Salat Island program as a key element that global palm oil players need to replicate.
“It is amazing to see so many stakeholder working together towards the goal of returning orangutans to the wild,” said Sascha Tischer, consultant stakeholder relations Germany of Sustainable Agriculture Network, member of FONAP. “I’m particularly impressed by how SSMS and BOSF involve the surrounding community to support the Salat Island. Such inclusivity will ensure the program continue to create values for years to come.”
Europe, the home of FONAP, is the second largest importer of Indonesia’s palm oil, bought around Rp41 trillion worth of palm oil in 2017*. FONAP has around 50 members, comprising companies, NGOs, and associations, including household names such as Ferrero, Unilever, and Beiersdorf.
*Data from eeas.europe.eu, accessed 23 September 2018
About Salat Island
Salat Island is an orangutan rehabilitation pre-release area and sanctuary, co-managed by BOSF and SSMS. It measures up to 2,000 hectares and started operations in 2015. Salat Island has suitable intact natural forest, is isolated from the mainland all year-round, has no wild orangutan population, and has adequate capacity to support large numbers of orangutans as they adapt to life in the wild.
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