Six of the 26 orangutans were released by the BOS Foundation, Environment and Forestry Minister, Siti Nurbaya, told members of Commission IV of the House of Representatives (DPR) at a hearing session here on Wednesday. Commission IV oversees agriculture, forestry, and maritime activities.
The minister said the remaining 20 orangutans were released into their natural habitat by the Orangutan Foundation International YIARI.
Six baby orangutans were born during the first half of this year in three conservation areas — Bukit Raya National Park, SM Lamandau, and Gunung Palung National Park, she added.
Speaking about orangutan rescue efforts, she said 16 orangutans had been rescued by several regional offices of the Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) on the islands of Kalimantan and Sumatra.
The first rescue was conducted by the BKSDA-Central Kalimantan officials on January 3, 2020, and the last rescue was conducted by the BKSDA-North Sumatra officials on June 15, 2020, she added.
ANTARA has reported that over the years, several orangutans have been released into their natural habitat in Kalimantan Island.
In July and August, 2019, for instance, the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) and the BKSDA-Central Kalimantan Office released eight orangutans into their natural habitat in Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park in Katingan District.
The release of the eight orangutans had helped increase their number in the national park's forests, BOSF CEO, Jamartin Sihite, noted in a press statement issued by the foundation.
Sihite confirmed that three of the orangutans released were male, while the remaining were female. The primates were released on July 30 and August 1, 2019.
To release the great apes, BOSF workers had made a 15-hour journey to their natural habitat located along the Hiran riverbank. The location was selected to boost the population of orangutans in the national park's area, Sihite stated.
The number of orangutans receiving treatment at BOSF's rehabilitation center had increased amid the fact that forests, which serve as the natural habitat for these endangered animals, would immediately reach their maximum capacity, he stated.
According to the official website of the World Wildlife Fund, orangutans are regarded as a critically endangered species, with their total population on the islands of Kalimantan and Sumatra pegged at 119,346.
According to the WWF, the orangutans inhabiting the islands of Kalimantan and Sumatra are also called "gardeners of the forest" as they contribute to seed dispersal in their natural habitats. However, with human pressure rising, these primates are facing an increasing risk of extinction. (INE)
Related news: Ragunan Zoo's virtual tour features Sumatran orangutans
Related news: Three orangutans released into Tanjung Puting National Park
EDITED BY INE