Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia's Environment and Forestry Ministry and its partners in Central Kalimantan Province released three orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) into their natural habitat in the Tanjung Puting National Park in the districts of Kotawaringin Barat and Seruyan.

The released orangutans are named after Cantik, Rimut, and Natalia, Acting Head of the Central Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) Andi Muhammad Khadafi noted in a press statement that ANTARA received in Jakarta on Saturday.

Before release, the orangutans were quarantined and rehabilitated to restore their physical and psychological wellbeing at the Orangutan Care Center Quarantine (OCCQ) after they got involved in human-wildlife conflicts, he explained.

The ministry has collaborated with the BKSDA, Orangutan Foundation International (OFI), and the Tanjung Puting National Park in conducting this mission.

"We call on the local people to partake in preserving the orangutans and their natural habitat," he stated.

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Cantik, an 18-year-old female orangutan, was handed over by a local resident to the BKSDA-Central Kalimantan Office on May 27, 2004, while Rimut, a 13-year-old orangutan, was handed over on April 28, 2009.

Natalia, a 19-year-old female orangutan, was handed over on July 15, 2003, Khadafi revealed.

Over the course of the past years, several orangutans were released into their natural habitat in Central Kalimantan Province.

In July and August 2019, for instance, the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) and BKSDA-Central Kalimantan Office had released eight orangutans into their natural habitat in Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park in Katingan District.

The release of these eight orangutans had helped increase their number in the national park's forests, according to BOSF's CEO, Jamartin Sihite, as noted in his foundation's press statement.

Sihite confirmed that three of those released were male, while five others were female. The primates were released on July 30 and August 1, 2019.

To release these great apes, BOSF's workers had to embark on a 15-hour journey to reach their natural habitat area located along the Hiran riverbank. This location was selected to boost the population of orangutans in the national park's area, he stated.

The number of orangutans receiving treatment at BOSF's rehabilitation center had increased amid the fact that forests, serving as a natural habitat for these endangered animals, would immediately reach their maximum capacity, he stated.

According to the WWF's official website, orangutans are regarded as a critically endangered species, with their total population on the islands of Kalimantan and Sumatra, expected to reach some 119,346.

According to the WWF, orangutans on the islands of Kalimantan and Sumatra are called "gardeners of the forest" as they contribute to seed dispersal in their natural habitats. However, with human pressure only rising, orangutans face an increasing risk of extinction.

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Translator: Anom P, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Sri Haryati
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