Kutai Kartanegara, East Kalimantan. Students at Kutai Kartanegara University have handed over to wildlife authorities an orangutan driven out of its natural habitat by a palm oil company in Kalimantan.
Gustina, the head of the Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), said on Sunday that his office had taken custody of the 3-year-old endangered ape a day earlier.
“We now have four orangutans in our care. The other three were previously given to us by local residents,” he said.
The orangutan that was handed over to the BKSDA on Saturday was reported to have been kept by residents of Panca Raya village in Kutai Kartanegara, East Kalimantan, for the past three months after the ape strayed into the village following the razing of a nearby forest to make way for an oil palm plantation.
It was later rescued by students from the Kutai Kartanegara University nature club, Wamapala, which warned that even more orangutans were still being kept by villagers as pets.
The rate at which the animals were being driven out of their natural habitats by companies clearing forests for plantations and coal mines has increase the amount of human-orangutan conflict in the area, the students said.
Gustina said the BKSDA would look after the animals at its facility until the construction of an orangutan rehabilitation center in North Penajam Paser district by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation concluded later this year.
The new orangutan rehabilitation center will host up to 50 primates, and will be just the fifth facility of its kind in Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo Island.
The BOS Foundation runs two other rehabilitation centers: the Nyaru Menteng facility in Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan, and the Samboja Lestari center just outside Balikpapan, East Kalimantan.