"We dedicate this occasion to the anniversary of the World Natural Habitat Day observed on October 7," BOSF program manager drh (veterinarian) Agus Irwanto said.
The six orangutans, named Agus, Mayang, Acong, Siwie, Inge and Noel, were released into the Kehje Sewen forest in Muara Wahau, Kutai Timur, at 11am on Monday.
The primates, accompanied by several BOSF workers and staff members, initially traveled by car for an hour from Samboja Lestari, 50 kilometers north of Balikpapan, to the Sepinggan airport.
From there, they flew by a Cessna type aircraft, Grand Caravan, to Muara Wahau in Miau and then proceeded towards Kehje Sewen by helicopter, a 50 minute flight.
Kehje Sewen is located around 600 kilometers north of Balikpapan.
"Due to the distance and the means of transport required, it needed no less than Rp600 million to release the animals," Agus said.
A day before, BOSF had also released Emerson, a male orangutan, aged 26 years.
While Agus and Noel were male orangutans, Mayang, Acong, Siwie and Inge were female.
The animals were rescued after their habitat was transformed into oil palm plantation.
They were brought to Samboja Lestari where the foundation takes care of hundreds of animals before releasing them into the forest.
"Acong is now 15 years old. When she was first taken to Samboja Lestari, she was still a baby, between eight and nine months of age. She was rescued from Tenggarong," said Wiwi, the coordinator of animal welfare and forest school of Semboja Lestari.
All the orangutans that were released passed the forest school providing an "education program" for animals to be released to the forest, she said.
In the school, the animals are taught how to climb trees, find food available in the forest and build a nest, she added.
"The top skill is building nests," drh Agus said.
He said if the animal is able to build a nest consistently during 200 hours of observation, it is then chosen as a candidate for being released in the forest.
At present, there are more than 500 orangutans in Samboja Lestari, 75 percent of which could be released into the forest.
Kehje Sewen, meanwhile, is a secondary forest and a former production forest.
Because of its extreme contours, there is still a lot of forested area that has never been exploited.
The forest is now managed by PT Rehabilitasi Habitat Orangutan Indonesia (RHOI), a firm set up by the BOSF for this specific purpose.(*)
reported by novi abdi