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BOS to Release Orangutans to Kehje Sewen Forest

27 May 2016 | Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation News Release

Samboja, East Kalimantan. The BOS Foundation, in collaboration with the East Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), is preparing to release five orangutans from the BOSF Samboja Lestari East Kalimantan Orangutan Reintroduction Program to the Kehje Sewen Forest, located in East Kutai and Kutai Kertanegara Regencies.

With the release of these five, the total number of orangutans released to the Kehje Sewen Forest by the BOS Foundation will reach 45 (with 40 previously released between 2012- 2015).

The three males and two females will be transported overland from the Samboja Lestari Centre to Muara Wahau, the sub-regent capital of East Kutai Regency. The journey will take about 12 hours, with the team making pit stops every two hours to check the orangutans. From Muara Wahau, the trip will take another five hours to reach a point which is located about 200 metres from the Telen River at the edge of the Kehje Sewen Forest, where land vehicles can go no further. The transport cages will then be carefully carried to the riverbank and loaded onto a small boat called a ‘ces, which will take us across the river. The cages will then be loaded onto 4×4 vehicles for the last leg of the journey to the designated release points in the Kehje Sewen Forest.

Drh. Agus Irwanto, Program Manager at Samboja Lestari: “We at Samboja Lestari are delighted to release more of our rehabilitated orangutans. These five orangutans, named Angely, Gadis, Kenji, Hope and Raymond, will soon be given back their freedom in the Kehje Sewen Forest. They have completed the rehabilitation process; some have been here for nine years. They all are ready to live in the wild, following the other 40 previously released orangutans, and we all hope they can generate a new wild population in the forest.”

Kehje Sewen is a 86,450 hectare rainforest in East Kalimantan managed as an Ecosystem Restoration Concession (ERC) by PT RHOI (Restorasi Habitat Orangutan Indonesia). The BOS Foundation purchased this ERC in 2010, specifically to enable us to release rehabilitated orangutans.

Dr. Aldrianto Priadjati, Director of Forest Conservation for RHOI warmly welcomes the event: “Our job is to make sure all rehabilitated orangutans are ready for release, and that after release they thrive and adapt well to their new environment. Our highly dedicated team conducts post-release monitoring on a daily basis in the forest. We are also currently working on obtaining more forest areas to be used for future releases in the Kehje Sewen Forest, and other forests in East and Central Kalimantan. We expect optimum support from all stakeholders to realize this, for we still have hundreds of orangutans waiting to be released.”

Head of the East Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), Ir. Sunandar Trigunajasa N., said, “The release of orangutans by the BOS Foundation is a truly wonderful thing, for animal and habitat conservation is our collective responsibility. Orangutans are protected by law, and we should always put this into perspective when developing land in our province. Let’s concentrate our collective effort on supporting the conservation of our rich, natural resources.”

Dr. Ir. Jamartin Sihite, CEO of the BOS Foundation, said, “Last year our program faced a very serious threat. More than 150 hectares of forest surrounding Samboja Lestari was destroyed by fire. There is nowhere in East Kalimantan capable of accommodating our 200 orangutans, should we need to evacuate them all. We need participation from everyone to make sure this will not happen again. The East Kalimantan BKSDA and other authorities have been generously supporting our efforts, nevertheless we still need much firmer law enforcement to help protect orangutans and their habitat in East Kalimantan.”

This release is only made possible with cooperation between the BOS Foundation and the East Kalimantan BKSDA, the Provincial Government of East Kalimantan, the local government of East Kutai and Kutai Kartanegara regencies, and the local residents of said regencies. The BOS Foundation is extremely grateful for the moral and financial support provided by BOS Switzerland, PT Total E&P Indonesia, PT Pupuk Kaltim, individual donors, and other partners and organizations from around the world concerned with orangutan conservation in Indonesia.


Paulina Laurensia

Communications Specialist



Communications Staff Samboja Lestari



Editor’s Note:


Founded In 1991, the BOS Foundation is a non-profit Indonesian organization dedicated to the conservation of Bornean orangutans and their habitats, working together with local communities, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry of the Republic of Indonesia and international partner organizations.

Currently, the BOS Foundation is working to rehabilitate more than 700 orangutans with the support of 400 highly dedicated staff and experts in primatology, biodiversity, ecology, forest rehabilitation, agroforestry, community empowerment, communications, education, and orangutan welfare. For further information, please visit


PT Restorasi Habitat Orangutan Indonesia (RHOI) is a company established by the BOS Foundation on April 21, 2009, solely to acquire the Utilization of Forest Timber Products license through Restoration of the Ecosystem (IUPHHK-RE), also known as Ecosystem Restoration Concession (ERC).

As a non-profit organisation, the BOS Foundation is not permitted to apply for certain licenses due to government regulations. Hence, RHOI was established. On August 18, 2010, RHOI was issued an ERC permit, giving them the authority to use and manage 86,450 hectares of rainforest in East Kutai and Kutai Kertanegara Regencies, East Kalimantan. The permit gives RHOI the authority to manage a concession area – in this case, a forest area – which is imperative in the planning and implementation of orangutan releases.

This concession provides a sustainable and secure habitat for orangutans for at least 60 years, with the option of extending for another 35 years. Issued by the Ministry of Forestry, this ERC license cost around US$1.4 million, which was funded by generous donations from donors and the BOS Foundation’s partner organizations in Europe, Australia and the US.

The forest’s name, ‘Kehje Sewen’, translates as ‘orangutan’ in local Dayak Wehea language. By name and nature, the Kehje Sewen Forest has become a forest for orangutans. For more information, please visit

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