The two release sites Bukit Batikap and Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park (TNBBBR) have transformed the efforts to protect the orangutan in Central Kalimantan.

With Save the Orangutan’s support, the two protected areas allow our partner BOS Foundation to achieve impressive results in terms of establishing a self-sustaining and genetically distinct population of wild orangutans in a secure habitat. Consequently, both nature and orangutans are less vulnerable to conflicts with human development and climate change.

The access rights to Bukit Batikap were obtained in 2012, and 175 orangutans have been released there since then. But orangutans require a lot of space to live a wild and free life in the rainforest, which is why TNBBBR was added as a release site in 2016. However, increased efforts are necessary in TNBBBR to ensure the best possible conditions for the released orangutans.

More released orangutans mean increased monitoring

The trip from Nyaru Menteng to the release site in TNBBBR is long and challenging. Reaching the protected area deep within the national park in the heart of Borneo requires a 10-12 hours by car to the village of Tumbang Tundu followed by a five hours long trip by boat along the Bemban river.

Permanent presence in the area is ensured with bases in two camps within TNBBBR. The bases allow the post-monitoring teams to react and intervene with a supplement of foods or veterinary aid if necessary. Moreover, our community development and education team ensures involvement of local partners to protect the orangutans in the area.

Every orangutan returning to the rainforest is a success. However, while the number of released orangutans in TNBBBR increases, the post-release monitoring becomes increasingly important. More hands and tools are required to develop and improve effective monitoring. We are therefore working together with BOS Foundation to recruit and train local staff, improve the communication from the camp with more equipment such as binoculars, walkie talkies, and camera traps. This allows for monitoring of more orangutans and other species from a distance.

Other priorities in this regard include electricity supply and more boats, which will increase transport capacity.

Visiting one of the camps