Restorasi Habitat Orangutan Indonesia, part of the Borneo Orangutan Survival
Foundation, has been given permission by the Indonesian government to release
over 600 orangutans into thousands of acres of land. There had been no releases
of orangutans from their animal facility for the last nine years. The new
releases will take place in East and Central Kalimantan in Borneo through
2015. East Kalimantan has experienced a boom in logging, coal mining, forest
products and petroleum production. The logging and mining have caused habitat
loss for orangutans, so much so that even the newly released orangutans
will go to lands that have already been logged, although some areas were
replanted with trees in 2002. The Restorasi Habitat Orangutan Indonesia
will have to pay $1.4 million dollars for 60 years for the orangutans to
live on the lands where they will be released.
Kalimantan has 10 percent of the world’s wild orangutans and some
of the last remaining stretches of undeveloped wild areas in Indonesia.
Organizations like The Nature Conservancy are trying to preserve both the
wild habitats and orangutans.
of forests can increase the risk of rampant fires. Millions of acres of
land burned in Indonesia in 1997, with thousands of fires in East and Central
has one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world. Illegal deforestation
is currently rife, and the loss of government revenue associated with this
illegality has been estimated at $US 100 million in East Kalimantan alone,”
said researcher Maria Monica Wihardja, CSIS. (Source: EastAsiaForum)
threat to orangutans is illegal capture for the pet trade. According to
a recent PBS article, Taiwan is the leading illegal importer of orangutans
for use as pets. Borneo orangutans are classified by the International Union
for Conservation of Nature as endangered due to an estimated population
decline of about 50 percent over the last 60 years. A research study from
last year found they are the most energy efficient primates.