A mother and baby orangutan are moved to safety in West Borneo
In mid-July our team in Indonesia collaborated with the local forestry department (BKSDA West Kalimantan) and the Conservation Task Force at PT Kayung Agro Lestari (PT KAL) on the translocation of two orangutans from Kuala Satong Village in Ketapang District to Gunung Palung National Park (GPNP.)
The translocation was carried out following a report by the BKSDA and IAR Indonesia who monitored the area between April and July 2018. The monitoring results revealed that there were five orangutans located around community plantations. The orangutans had become isolated as a result of habitat fragmentation caused by forest fires in 2015 and were at risk of coming into conflict with local communities.
The two orangutans named Mama Re (35 years old) and Baby Re (10 months) had reportedly been eating rambutan and jack fruitand had entered community gardens in the village, putting them at risk of conflict with local people.
The rescue operation was carried out using anaesthesia administered by a veterinarian in accordance with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on “Guidelines for Combating Conflict between Humans and Wildlife.” During the rescue, the condition of the orangutans was checked. Both individuals were confirmed to be healthy and so could be relocated directly to a new site. The orangutans were translocated to Bukit Daun Sandar, Teluk Bayur Village, Sempurna Resort, Gunung Palung.
The location was chosen because of the low density of the orangutan population, the availability of food and the natural barrier of the river which would maintain the security and welfare of the orangutans. In addition to its carrying capacity, the status of the area as a National Park will ensure the safety of the orangutans. The local community has also made a commitment to participate in maintaining the presence of orangutans in the area of the National Park. M Ari Wibawanto, Head of the Gunung Palung National Park, said: "We received reports from BKSDA Kalbar and IAR relating to orangutans located in the community plantation area.
Based on the reports, we conducted a survey with IAR to determine the appropriate location for translocating orangutans trapped in community gardens. Survey results showed Bukit Daun Sandar, located in the Sempurna Resort, to be suitable as a location for translocation.
The translocation operations are a collaboration of the parties GPNP, BKSDA, IAR and PT KAL as a quick response to the rescue of orangutans outside conservation areas that are threatened by conflict with humans. We also appreciate the community's commitment and care to help keep orangutans alive.”Karmele L Sanchez, Programme Director of IAR Indonesia, said: "Although the translocation operation was successful and went smoothly, translocation is only a temporary solution to this kind of conflict.
This kind of incident is likely to be repeated if the landscape issues aren’t resolved. For landscape conservation programmes, we need to work with all stakeholders, not just citizens and governments, but also companies that have plantation land in or around orangutan habitat. cooperating with BKSDA West Kalimantan and the Gunung Palung National Park to focus on long term solutions related to this problem in residential areas which are directly adjacent to the national park area. Hopefully, we can prevent a case like this happening again in the future."
Sadtata Noor Adirahmanta, Head of the BKSDA West Kalimantan, added: "We are extremely grateful to our partners, particularly IAR Indonesia and the local community, for providing support for the conservation efforts undertaken by the government. The challenge ahead is definitely not easy and requires considerable commitment and loyalty. Bravo conservation!"