OFI and GAR Release Two Orangutans Back Into the Wild
Pangkalan Bun, July 28, 2016 – Orangutan Foundation International (OFI), an international nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of wild orangutans and their rainforest habitat, worked together with Golden Agri-Resources (GAR/PT SMART) to release two Orangutans, Poco and Rich, back into the wild in the Seruyan District, Central Kalimantan today.
Poco was found by the local community in January 2004 when she was two years old, weighing 6 kilograms. Since then she has been at the Orangutan Care Center Quarantine (OCCQ) facility, which is located in the Dayak village of Pasir Panjang and run by OFI. Rich, on the other hand, was found by the local community at Nanga Matu Village, Belantikan Raya Sub-District, Lamandau Regent where he was rescued and taken to the OCCQ in February 2004, when he was 10 months old and weighing 2.66 kilograms.
“We are extremely concerned to see the Orangutan species move closer towards extinction in the wild. To prevent this, it is imperative that the private sector actively participates in conservation activities and develops strict conservation policies to protect Orangutans in the operation areas of private companies through collaborative partnerships, such as the one by OFI, Yayasan Orangutan Internasional Kalimantan (YOIK), and PT SMART Tbk. Through these valuable partnerships we hope that the decrease rate of Orangutan populations can be stopped and reversed,” said Prof. Dr. Birute Mary Galdikas, Founder and President of OFI.
The release underscores the importance of private sector support for endangered species. The International Union for the Convention of Nature (IUCN) recently released an update of conservation data that changed the status of the Kalimantan orangutan from “endangered” to “critically endangered”—just one level away from becoming extinct.
Timed just a few weeks before International Orangutan Day on August 19th, the release of Poco and Rich was witnessed by representatives from the Natural Resources Conservation Office and Tanjung Puting National Park, Golden-Agri Resources (GAR)/SMART’s Managing Director for Sustainability and Strategic Stakeholder Engagement, Agus Purnomo, and OFI Founder and President, Prof. Dr. Birute Mary Galdikas.
“Not many people understand the specific processes that need to be implemented in order to release Orangutans. The reintroduction process takes time and needs proper planning. And we cannot do this alone. We need partners and supporters who are committed to help the Orangutans for the long-run, not only for the release itself, but also at the most important phases, which are the preparation phase, when we prepare them to be back in the wild, and the after release phase as it is imperative that the forests where the Orangutans are released into need to be protected,” said Dr. Galdikas.
Managing Director for Sustainability and Strategic Stakeholder Engagement Golden Agri-Resources (GAR)/PT SMART, Agus Purnomo said: “GAR/PT SMART is committed to orangutan conservation in Indonesia, in line with our company policy to protect orangutans and other endangered species that enter our palm oil plantation areas. We also support conservation through our partnership with OFI. Protecting rare and endangered species is one of the core tenets of the GAR Social and Environmental Policy which is continuously shared with all our employees and all our partners.”
GAR/PT SMART formulated a Wildlife Protection Policy for Rare and Endangered species in June 2012. This policy is commonly known as the Zero Tolerance Policy and under this the Company does not tolerate the hunting, keeping, injuring, harming, and killing of wild animals that are classified as rare and endangered. With the support of OFI, the socialisation of the policy is conducted through a training programme in orangutan conservation for employees of PT SMART.
About Orangutan Foundation International
Orangutan Foundation International (OFI) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of wild orangutans and their rainforest habitat and a partner of the Government of Indonesia. OFI also supports research on orangutans and forests, education initiatives, both local and international, and brings awareness concerning orangutans wherever it can. OFI is profoundly committed to the welfare of all orangutans, whether captive, ex-captive, or wild.
Establishedby Prof.Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas and associates in 1986, OFI operates Camp Leakey, an Orangutan research center, within Tanjung Puting National Park. OFI also runs the Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine(OCCQ) facility in the Dayak village of Pasir Panjang near Pangkalan Bun, which is home to 330 displaced Orangutans, and helps manage the orangutans at Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, where rehabilitated wild born ex-captive Orangutans were released into the wild for many years. Through its field programs, OFI also provides employment at these facilities for over 210 local Indonesians. OFI also helps take care of Rusti, an adult male Orangutan OFI rescued from a backyard zoo in New Jersey. Rusti is now on permanent loan to the Honolulu Zoo in Hawaii. OFI built his magnificent enclosure which covers a good part of
About PT SMART Tbk.
PT SMART Tbk (SMART), a subsidiary of Golden Agri-Resources (GAR), has had a long standing partnership with Orangutan Foundation International (OFI), beginning in 2011 by supporting the release of 40 wild-born, ex-captive Orangutans into their natural habitat in Seruyan Forest, Kalimantan, Indonesia and helping provide support for the orangutans in quarantine who are about to be released from the OFI care center – Orangutan Care Center & Quarantine (OCCQ) in Pasir Panjang near Pangkalan Bun. Currently, the wildborn ex-captive Orangutan population at the care center stands at 320. In 2014, the partnership with OFI was extended by three years to support the release of 60 ex-captive Orangutans to their natural habitat.
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