Archive | November 2016

PRESS RELEASE : Sumatran orangutan rescued from isolated trees in Tripa peat swamps, Leuser Ecosystem, Sumatra.

Sumatran orangutan rescued from isolated trees in Tripa peat swamps, Leuser Ecosystem, Sumatra.

From : Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP)

17th November 2016

Wednesday, November 16th 2016, an isolated young female Sumatran orangutan was rescued by a team from the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) and the Aceh Conservation Agency (BKSDA Aceh) of Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry, from a tiny fragment of forest surrounded by palm oil in the Tripa peat swamps, part of the world renowned Leuser Ecosystem in northern Sumatra, Indonesia.

Located in a palm oil plantation near the village of Gelanggang Gajah (Kuala Batee sub-district, Aceh Barat Daya district, Aceh province) the orangutan first had to be captured from the tree tops by the team, which included SOCP veterinarian drh Pandu Wibisono and SOCP Operations Manager Asril, using an anaesthetic dart fired from a specially designed rifle. The task was made easier, however, by the fact that there were only 4 small trees for her to hide in, all other surrounding vegetation being 4 year old oil palms, only a few metres high.

On being successfully darted at around 11.00am, and then caught in a net as she fell from the tree she was in, she was found to be around 7 years old and weighing only around 20kg, a clear sign of her malnutrition due to having almost no natural food available.

As Asril commented, “normally we don’t want to capture wild orangutans but in exceptional circumstances we feel we have no choice. In cases where we know the animal is going to die or be killed if we don’t get them, then of course we do our best to get them out of there and move them to somewhere safe. This young female, who we’ve now named ‘Zaskia’, was already raiding farmer’s crops, and even eating young palm oil seedlings in an attempt to survive. That’s certainly not their natural diet, but it’s all she had to try and survive on, and if we hadn’t got her out of there soon the villagers would almost certainly have killed her for the damage she’s been causing.”

Once safely sedated and in the net the team performed routine medical checks and transferred Zaskia to a specialist transport cage ready and waiting on a pick-up truck 2km away from the capture site.

“Despite being obviously undernourished there were no signs of any other major medical problems,” stated drh Pandu Wibisono, SOCP veterinarian. “That being the case we left at 14.00 and took her straight to the SOCP’s orangutan reintroduction centre in Jantho, Aceh Besar, in a strictly protected Nature Reserve with abundant natural food in the forest, where she will join over 90 other orangutans already released there,” he added.

Dr Ian Singleton, Director of the SOCP also commented, “capturing free living wild orangutans  goes against the logic of the conservation goals we are trying to achieve, to keep as many wild orangutans living free in their natural habitat as we possibly can. But in cases like Zaskia’s, where we know she will be killed we really have no choice but to try and help them. Fortunately though, we are also reintroducing confiscated illegal pet orangutans back to the wild in Jantho, the aim being to establish an entirely new genetically viable and self-sustaining wild population of this Critically Endangered Species. Whilst its always sad that we have to capture and rescue wild orangutans like this one, the up side is that she is now joining the new population, she will probably live a long life in the wild there and hopefully she will produce several infants during her lifetime, making a major contribution to the new population being established in Janthoand therefore the long term survival prospects for her species! That’s something she would not have done if she’d stayed where she was.” He stressed.

Genman Hasibuan, S. Hut. MM, Head of BKSDA Aceh added, “Sumatran orangutans are a legally protected species in Indonesia, with fines of up to Rp 100,000,000 and prison terms of as much as 5 years for anyone caught killing, capturing, keeping, or trying to sell one. We have already prosecuted a number of people over the last few years and will continue to do so if the illegal capture and killing of orangutans does not stop. We hope these prosecutions will act as a deterrent to anyone thinking of capturing or killing an orangutan and for anyone who is offered one as a pet.” He emphasized.

The Tripa peat swamp forests and the Leuser Ecosystem in which they lie have both been in the news regularly over recent years. Tripa came to the worlds attention in 2012 when huge fires ripped through large scale oil palm plantations, devastating local biodiversity and releasing huge amounts of carbon into the atmospehere. These events led to several legal challenges against the companies by local NGO’s and by Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment, resulting in large fines and prison terms being handed out to the offenders. The 2.6 million hectare Leuser Ecosystem is also the subject of a civil lawsuit against Indonesia’s Ministry of Home Affairs and the Governor and parliament of Aceh province, due to fact that despite it being a National Strategic Area under National Law, which then requires its inclusion in all levels of spatial land use plan, it is not mentioned at all in the Aceh provincial spatial land use plan a fact that both National and provincial government already acknowledge renders the plan an illegal document.

Local NGO’s and environmentalists are now pushing the central government to ensure that all fines and prison terms related to the Tripa peat swamp palm oil companies are now enforced and carried out. They are also eagerly awaiting the outcome of the civil lawsuit against the Aceh spatial land use plan, originally due on November the 8th but then postponed until the end of the month.

Additional Information :-

  • The Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) is a different species from its Bornean relative (Pongo pygmaeus).
  • The Sumatran orangutan is listed by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) as a ”Critically Endangered Species” on its Red List of Threatened Species.
  • Surveys by the SOCP suggest only around 14,600 Sumatran orangutans survive in the wild today.
  • All orangutans are fully protected under Indonesian National Law UU No 5, 1990 on the Conservation of Natural Resources and Ecosystems.
  • The Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme is a collaborative programme implemented by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry’s Directorate Jenderal Konservasi Sumber Daya Alam dan Ekosistem (Ditjen KSDAE), the Indonesian NGO Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari, and the Swiss based NGO PanEco Foundation.
  • Since 2001 the SOCP has reintroduced over 180 confiscated illegal pets to the wild at the edge of the Bukit Tigapuluh National Park in Jambi Province and over 90 in the forests of Jantho, Aceh Besar, establishing two entirely new wild populations of this critically endangered species.

 

Contact :-

Dr Ian Singleton. Director SOCP,Tel : +62 61 4514360 / +62 811 650493, Email : mokko123@gmail.com

Genman Hasibuan, S. Hut. MM. KepalaBalaiKSDA Aceh, Tel : +62 812 86319877, Email : genman_suhefti@yahoo.co.id

Asril, SSi.  SOCP Operations Manager, Tel : 0813 70233052, 0821 65417394, Email : mawas_socp@yahoo.com

drhPanduWibisono. SOCP Veterinarian, Tel :+62 813 17868372, 0857 11243212, Email : pandu.wibisono@hotmail.com

Photos :- can be downloaded here 

B. zaskia rescue

Suggested captions below. Taken by the SOCP team during the capture and rescue of the female orangutan, Zaskia.

20161116_104452.jpg

drh Pandu (left) dan Asril (centre, brown teeshirt) checking the physical and medical condition of the orangutan immediately after capture.

20161116_104818-1.jpg

drh Pandu undertaking medical checks in the field.

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Asril and Zaskia before placing her in her transport crate for the journey to the SOCP reintroduction centre in Jantho.

PRESS RELEASE : Four Sumatran orangutans return to Aceh for release to the wild.

Four Sumatran orangutans return to Aceh for release to the wild.

16th November, 2016

From : Balai Besar KSDA Sumatera Utara and PanEco Foundation – Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme

On Tuesday November 15th, four young Sumatran orangutans arrived safely in the forests of Jantho, Aceh Besar, to begin the process of learning to be wild orangutans once again. They travelled to Jantho overnight from their previous home at the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme’s orangutan quarantine centre in Sibolangit, near Medan, in North Sumatra.

Agustina, a female approximately 8 years of age, and 3 males, Adel, Jagai and Upin, between 5 and 7 years old, arrived at 11.00 in the morning at the Jantho Orangutan Reintroduction Centre, also run by the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP).

“I wish these four orangutans the very best of luck for the future as they learn the skills they will need to survive in their new habitat,” commented Dr Hotmauli Sianturi, Head of the North Sumatra Conservation Agency (BBKSDA Sumatera Utara) of Indonesia’s Ministry of the Environment and Forestry. “All being well they’ll produce infants of their own eventually so help to found the new wild population of this critically endangered species being established in Jantho’s forests.” She added.

According to Mukhlisin, Manager of the Jantho orangutan Reintroduction Centre for the SOCP, the four young orangutans must first spend a few more weeks in cages at the edge of the forest on the banks of the Aceh River.

“First they have to recover their energy and get used to their new surroundings,” he noted. “They’ll then be released and closely followed and monitored in the forest for several months by the staff at the centre. The staff will observe the orangutan’s progress closely and monitor their health, diet and behavior so we can assess how well they’re doing. If they need any help from the team, such as extra food, or to shelter for a while in the cages again, then we will provide that. Most orangutans we release do very well out in the forest and don’t need much help at all. The most important thing for them is to find enough food and to sleep in a well-constructed nest in the trees for protection against predators and to prevent them getting too wet and cold if it rains.” He added.

Dr Ian Singleton, Director of the SOCP also commented. “These orangutans were once illegal pets in Aceh, confiscated from their owners by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry’s Conservation Agency in Aceh (BKSDA Aceh). They have since been cared for and rehabilitated at the SOCP orangutan quarantine centre near Medan. Now they’re finally ready to return to their natural habitat and have a second chance at a long and healthy life as a wild orangutan once again. It’s really great to see orangutans like these, after suffering the death of their mother when captured and then kept illegally, often in tiny cages or chained by the neck, get the chance to be genuinely free and wild again. Orangutans can live for 50 years or more in the wild and we wouldn’t want them to spend the rest of their lives in metal cages. They will also be joining over 80 orangutans that have already been released in Jantho. The aim is to establish an entirely new, self-sustaining wild orangutan population in Jantho, as a kind of ‘safety net’ to prevent the extinction of their species in the wild.” He explained.

Genman Hasibuan , S. Hut. MM, Head of BKSDA Aceh added, “Sumatran orangutans are a legally protected species in Indonesia, with fines of up to Rp 100,000,000 and prison terms of as much as 5 years for anyone caught killing, capturing, keeping, or trying to sell them. We have already prosecuted a number of people over the last few years and will continue to do so if the illegal capture and keeping of orangutans does not stop. We hope these prosecutions will act as a deterrent to anyone thinking of capturing or killing an orangutan and for anyone who is offered one as a pet.” He emphasized.

Dr Hotmauli also stressed, “Whilst it really is heartwarming to see orangutans like Agustina, Adel, Jagai and Upin on the path to being truly wild orangutans once again, that they are captive in the first place is also a sign that we are failing to protect them sufficiently in the wild. Each one of these four youngsters will have been removed from the body of their dead or dying mother, almost certainly killed by human hands. It’s that and the destruction of their habitat that remains the biggest problem!”.

Drh Yenny Saraswati, Senior Veterinarian for the SOCP added, “So far these four orangutans have done very well. We managed to get them back to full health and also to teach them how to be orangutans once again after living with people. Now their future is very much in their own hands. We wish them the very best of luck and will continue to do all we can to ensure they have a long, happy and productive live back in the forests of Aceh.”

Additional Information :-

  • The Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) is a different species from its Bornean relative (Pongo pygmaeus).
  • The Sumatran orangutan is listed by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) as a ”Critically Endangered Species” on its Red List of Threatened Species.
  • Surveys by the SOCP suggest only around 14,600 Sumatran orangutans survive in the wild today
  • All orangutans are fully protected under Indonesian National Law UU No 5, 1990 on the Conservation of Natural Resources and Ecosystems.
  • The Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme is a collaborative programme implemented by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry’s Directorate Jenderal Konservasi Sumber Daya Alam dan Ekosistem (Ditjen KSDAE), the Indonesian NGO Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari, and the Swiss based NGO PanEco Foundation.
  • Since 2001 the SOCP has reintroduced over 180 confiscated illegal pets to the wild at the edge of the Bukit Tigapuluh National Park in Jambi Province and over 80 in the forests of Jantho, Aceh Besar, establishing two entirely new wild populations of this critically endangered species.

 

Contact :-

Dr. Ir. Hotmauli Sianturi, M.Sc, Kepala Balai Besar KSDA Sumatera Utara. c/o Garendel Siboro, Kepala Bidang Teknis, Tel : +62 812 7516395, Email gsiboro56@gmail.com

Genman Hasibuan, S. Hut. MM, Kepala Balai KSDA Aceh, Tel : +62 812 86319877, Email : genman_suhefti@yahoo.co.id

Dr Ian Singleton, Director SOCP, Tel : +62 61 4514360 / +62 811 650493, Email : mokko123@gmail.com

drh Yenny Saraswati, SOCP Senior Veterinarian, Tel : +62 813 17837976, Email : yenny.jaya@gmail.com

Photos by SOCP:

  1. ariesta and jaggai SOCP Photo.JPG
  2. edy and augustina SOCP Photo.JPG

Photos are also available via Getty Images photographer Ulet Ifansasti (+62 811 2538194, Email ulet.ifansasti@gmail.com) …see download.

Photos can be downloaded at :-

  1. 4 orangutan to Jantho

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/sgr7blla5p802w0/AAB0B9t3YMX_AAtRR7sT0PN9a?dl=0